Netherlands – The Hague

So 2 weeks ago I was in the Netherlands, visiting family and friends. I often go around October, just before Xmas, because you know what it’s like with Xmas, always so busy. Also Xmas still looks so far away in October when the last time you saw everybody was back in May. This year I also wanted to go because my best friend had a baby just before the summer and I still didn’t see the beautiful boy. Such a happy reason to go, even though there was also a less happy reason I really wanted to go. My grandpa was in the hospital and my grandma has to go to an old people’s home, because of her very severe Alzheimer. I always make sure I see my grandparents whenever I can. I went for a week and planned in al my most important visits. My mum also got her hands on some cheap train tickets and she treated my sis and me on a city trip day. It took us a long time to decide what city to go, but we finally decided on Haarlem (the city where my whole family is from), to then decide in the train that we’re going to The Hague instead. Haha!

The Hague is the city where all the Dutch politics are happening. I’ve been to The Hague 2 times already, but I never went with the purpose of hotspot hunting. We got on the train in Assen and lucky for us, it goes straight to The Hague from there. The first 50 min we had to stand, because it was so busy, but it’s never boring with my mum and sis (and Jace, my nephew came too!). My google maps was a bit all over the place and wasn’t planning on sending us into the right direction, but luckily there are a lot of signs and so we found the city centre soon. Nobody was hungry yet, because my sis brought a snack for in the train. So we first decided to go for a drink, but on the way we found this very nice shop, that we forgot about the drinks. The shop is called Søstrene Grenes. The colours and the materials in this shop make you feel super greedy. I bought a small silicone facial sponge. It will be so useful and it’s something that will last. No waste = win win! I also bought a very delicious drink, some black cotton yarn and a little bar of chocolate from iChoc.

After this shop we were hungry and so we walked to Foam for lunch. It was at least a 10 min walk from the shops, but I can already tell you that it’s so worth it. It was actually a really nice walk, because you pass all the politic buildings and ‘Escher in the Palace’ (The Escher Museum). I really wanted to go to this museum, but I was the only one and majority wins. I will go another day, by myself or with somebody who I can share my enthusiasm with. Definitely go when you have the chance though! Now about Foam. It already looks so nice from the outside and even nicer when you walk in. It’s a long narrow space, but with high ceilings and a little garden in the back, with lots of lovely daylight. We all went for a different latte (Turmeric, Hazelnut and Matcha). Foam is all vegan and so it took us a while before we were able to make a choice for lunch. My sister went for the pancakes, my mum for the BLTA sandwich and I went for the quesadilla. The food was wohw! In my opinion my mum won, because her sandwich was to die for! If I wasn’t planning on eating anything else that day, I would have ordered it to take away. I will come back for this sandwich (as I’m coming back for the Escher museum anyway), haha! The staff is super friendly and easy going. Their desserts look delicious too, so I ordered a take away pecan biscuit at the till and then we left. The biscuit was very yum btw!

On our way back to the shops we popped into a health shop called Madal Bal. We bought some chocolate here and then we walked towards all the politic buildings. There was a time when I followed politics and I found it was fascinating. But since I moved to the UK and find most politics one big corrupt lie, I don’t bother anymore. Despite of that, I do enjoy looking at the beautiful buildings. My mum and sis never seen it before and so it was nice to show them. Jace wasn’t interested at all and decided on a nap. We did some more shopping. We visited a nice EkoPlaza, where I bought some seitan and a drink and my mum bought a really nice salt light that I truly love. After some more shopping and scoring a nice gift for my grandma, it was already time to go back. Time goes so fast! But before we headed back to the station, we wanted to visit the Vegetarische Snackbar. It was also quite a walk, outside the centre. It’s the opposite from the The Hague HS station. But omg! It was so gooddddd.. A snackbar is something very Dutch and it’s as popular as a pub is in the UK. It basically is a cafe where you can buy chips and snacks. Snacks that are mostly meat and cheese based. The Vegetarische Snackbar opened a snackbar where everything is vegetarian and also a lot is vegan! We again didn’t know what to choose and so we decided on nearly half the menu. It was so good, I don’t have words for it. The chips are good, but the snacks are so so similar to the original, that you truly wonder why we keep torturing and killing animals (there isn’t a good reason anyway!). This vegetarian snackbar is the only one in the Netherlands, but we all agreed that there should be one in every city and of course that all snackbars should be like this one. When paying, we also bought both cake options (carrot and chocolate). We ate these in the train and they were so good too. Very moist and strong flavoured. Whatever you do, when in The Hague.. go to the Vegetarische Snackbar!

Oh I forgot another reason I went to visit the Netherlands. I still didn’t see my brother and sister in law’s new home. They moved to Groningen before the summer and I was super curious to see it. It’s such a lovely and cosy place and I stayed for a sleep over. We had such a good time. The next day I invited my sister in law to have brunch at Anat. Their flat is in such a good location, because within 20 min you are in the city centre by bike. So that is what we did and we enjoyed a yummy smoothie bowl at this amazing place. I mentioned them before in a travel post, but I will again, because it’s a must go! On my last day I visited my grandparents with my sister and Jace. We had a really good time all together. We bought some oliebollen (something else typical Dutch, we normally eat on NYE) and they were so good. But then all nice trips come to an end and so it was time to go home sooner than I expected.

HOTSPOT LIST:
Søstrene Grenes – Spuistraat 48, 2511 BE Den Haag.
Escher Museum – Lange Voorhout 74, 2514 EH Den Haag.
Foam – Frederikstraat 44, 2514 LL Den Haag.
Madal Bal – Denneweg 126B, 2514 CL Den Haag.
Eko Plaza – Grote Marktstraat 177, 2511 BJ Den Haag.
Vegetraische Snackbar – Stationsplein 5A, 2515 BT Den Haag.
Anat – Verlengde Grachtstraat 1, 9717 GD Groningen.

Have you been to The Hague yet? You should definitely go and check out these lovely places. Please let me know if you do! You can leave a comment or show me by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

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Bloody Mess

It’s almost Halloween!! Notttt really my thing, but I do really like to create recipes with a theme. There are a lot of Halloween recipes that are everything but healthy. That’s why I wanted to create something that looks scary, but is not scary to eat, haha! I really like the outcome, because I love chia pudding and in combination with the fruit and the cinnamon it’s so tasty. You can use any plant based yogurt, but I used the plain version of the Coconut Collaboration. I love this yogurt anyway, but especially in this recipes it just works really well.

BLOODY MESS 

Serves: 2

1 cup red summer fruit
1 tbs goji berries
1/2 tbs agave nectar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
250gr yogurt
1/3 cup rice milk
3 tbs chia seed

-Put the yogurt, rice milk and chia seed in a bowl and mix it well. Then put it in the fridge for 2 hours (or overnight).
-Put the fruit in a sauce pan and warm it on medium heat, until it starts to be like a sauce. Keep stirring. (For frozen fruit it’s about 5 min. For fresh fruit about 3 min.)
-Take the fruit off the fire and add the goji berries, the agave nectar, the cinnamon and the vanilla extract. Mix well and let it cool down.
-Mix the chia pudding before dividing it into 2 glasses.
-Put the fruit mixture on top and use the back of a spoon to draw the lines down the pudding.
-Add some extra goji berries on top if you wish.

Do you like Halloween? Will you make this recipe? Please let me know! You can do this in a comment below or tag me on Instagram. When you do, I’ll repost it! You can also use the hashtag #planetmanel if you like, so I can find your picture and comment! Thank you! X

Comptoir V

Saturday the 25th of August was the Official Animal Rights March in London. Last year I couldn’t go, but this year I did! It was an amazing march. So much people, all united. Lovely! I went to London with my van and so when the march was over, I went back to my van and drove it to Kensal Rise. This is because I saw there was a new vegan restaurant in my old neighbourhood, just around the corner from where I used to live. I walked past it many times when they were building it. When they put the name ‘Comptoir V’ on the front, I was suspecting (and really hoping) it to be vegan. I never saw the opening as I already moved out of London by then. They opened about half a year ago. I was so excited to find out it is vegan and so I had to go an try it. I went for dinner.

First of all when you approach it, it looks super super nice. They chose lovely green colours, wood and amazing tiles on the floor. Inside it looks amazing too. Everything comes together and it looks very different from other restaurants. Their lamps and tables are so unique and really give a Middle Eastern look. The benches, the seats and just the whole lay out is made with so much eye for detail. I often think that restaurants that are creating a Middle Eastern style, look a bit dark, dated and dusty. Comptoir V proves the opposite. It looks light, fresh and super cosy. Whoever did the styling, did a really good job. It isn’t a huge restaurant, so it might be a good idea to make a reservation on busy days.

Their menu is very good. It has a lot of Middle Eastern influences. I went for the ribs and pasta though. This meant I got a portobello mushroom covered in bbq sauce on top of in garlic covered kale and mac and cheese on the side. The flavours were all very rich and strong, so it was very filling. Next time (because I definitely want to go again) I’m sure to go for a curry and some bread with (houmous) dips. I wasn’t hungry enough for that this time. I also ordered a fresh mint tea, what came in a lovely traditional tea pot and glass. It all looked so nice. I was very full after this lovely dinner, but as I was so curious about the cheesecake I got that take away. I had it the next day and I’m so happy that I did! Every day they have a different flavour and the flavour of the day was strawberry. It was so good. I can’t remember having better cheesecake in my life. The base definitely made the cake. It was so delicious in combination with the very firm top. There were fresh strawberries and mint on top and all the flavours together made me wish I had 2 pieces.

An extra compliment for the staff, that were all super easy going and friendly and really added to the atmosphere. This place is definitely a place to come back to!

WHO? Comptoir V.
WHERE? 12 Station Terrace, London NW10 5RU.
CUISINE? Middle Eastern.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 9 (Amazing food, great staff and very lovely ex/interior).

Did you know about Comptoir V 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

Spain – Mallorca/Palma 2018

I’m back home for a while, but I was so busy with my van, that I didn’t find the time yet to write about being in Mallorca. Every year I go to the Spanish island with work. So it’s like a work holiday, but being in the lovely sunshine, surrounded by mountains and delicious food, feels a bit like a holiday for me too. We always stay in the same villa, with more family members. There are 2 cooks, that serve breakfast, lunch and a 3 course dinner every day. Breakfast is loads of yummy fruit, what is always a good start of the day. They also make sure that they cook vegan meals for me, what I so appreciate. It’s always very tasty. In the 7 days that we’re there, I always get a day off to myself. This was already the 4th year I was there, but in the previous years I’ve never made the trip to Palma. This year I was thinking about it, but I was doubting if I really wanted to go, because it’s about an hour drive. Only on the morning itself, just before I got up, I decided to go for it.

So I got ready and drove away around 10ish. I ate an apple on the way for breakfast, with the hopes I would find lots of nice vegan food in the big city. I already checked and there were several vegan places around. I was very hopeful. I parked the car in a parking garage close to the centre and walked towards one of the places I planned to visit. On the way I bumped into a lovely pair of shorts and a top and I changed into that after I payed for it. A nice, useful souvenir. It was hot, but not as hot as last year (over 37C with no breeze) and it was very doable, wandering around the little streets. Palma is a very lovely city. Not breathtaking, but very easy-going and welcoming. It has nice little streets and it’s a mixture of Spanish and modern shops.

The first place I wanted to visit was called ‘My Muy Bueno’. It was a little tricky to find at first. I walked around, but I couldn’t find it. Turned out I already walked past it twice, cuz you have to look up. It’s situated on the first level and you need to get the stairs to reach it. Once I found it, I walked inside and I was pleasantly surprised. It look so so nice! It was so stylish, with a lovely interior and great eye for detail. Delicious looking food was right in front of me and I was greeted very kindly by the girl behind the counter. I went for a mixed salad, with a piece of seeded loaf and a fresh juice. I also got a Blondie and I couldn’t resist getting a raw snicker bar too. I could choose the salads I wanted and it tasted incredible! I really enjoyed every mouthful. For dessert I had the snicker bar, as it was likely to melt if I had it take away. It was so good too.. my goodness. Something else I really like about this place it that the plastic they use, is made out of plants and so it’s 100% biodegradable. What made me think, if this is a possibility (and you can make everything out of this as the girl handed me a sheet with all the information), why is all plastic we use not made out of this right now? My Muy Bueno also organises cooking workshops and next to the little restaurant there is a big area with kitchens, where they are given. How lovely! The girl who was serving me was super friendly and after a lovely chat I left to go do a bit of sightseeing.

I walked up to the big cathedral and I know I said that Palma wasn’t per se breathtaking, but this cathedral is! It’s huge and very beautiful. I sat there in the shade for a while, admiring it. It’s definitely worth a visit. When I walked a little further I bumped into the ‘Palau March Museum’ and I love museums, so I decided to get a ticket. It was only 4,50. There were some sculptures in the little square right after entering, I didn’t particular like, but the surroundings were very nice. It just wasn’t really my style. What I did really like is that they had a statue of Rodin and I like his work, so that was really nice. Going inside I didn’t know what to expect, but I was definitely not expecting what I saw. In the museum were a lot of little figures (people and animals), creating a scenery. The human figures were about 30 cm tall I think. They were made with real precision and all of them had their own expressions. There were a lot of animals too, that were almost all used for food or entertainment, what made me a little sad though. The building had several rooms and in another room they created a scenery of the stable, right after the birth of baby Jesus. It wasn’t only the stable, but also the village surrounding it. The every day life if you will. It was very interesting. It all dated from the 18th century and is the biggest collection in the world. Up stairs there was also some antique furniture and along the way there were several paintings (I didn’t particulate like). It’s only a little museum and I didn’t spend more then 45 minutes, but it was nice.

I walked around Palma a bit, looking at the shops, the buildings and everything. I got a delicious peach from a tiny supermarket and I had it as a snack. Then I almost walked all the way back to the car, because there were 2 other vegan places I wanted to check out and they were towards the parking garage. The first one was called ‘Vegan&Raw’. They do fresh juices and several raw food options. When I arrived it turned out that they were just closing though, but the very kind lady let met buy 2 juices anyway. Lucky me! It looked really nice btw and I think it’s nice to actually have lunch there when it’s open. It was almost time to have some dinner and that’s why I walked towards a place called ‘Compost’. To be honest, I wasn’t very hungry yet, but as I was there and I wanted to check out the nicest vegan places, I went anyway and had something light. I ordered a chai tea and I went for the nori bites. Black rice and vegetables, wrapped in a nori sheet. Like sushi. It was delicious and the lady who served me was very kind. The place itself was ok, but a bit dark and dated. I’m sure if they would make it a bit lighter it would look very different already. For the food it’s definitely recommended though.

Then I went back to the car and drove to Porta Pollenca. It’s a harbour town close to where the villa is. I spend half an hour in the sea and I ate my blondie right before I headed back. The blondie was very good btw!

I had a lovely day and I would recommend you to go to Palma to check it out for yourself. They have some very good vegan cafes and restaurants and it’s a lovely day out. Out of everything I would say, definitely go to My Muy Bueno if you only have time to go to one thing. It’s so worth it!

HOTSPOT LIST:
My Muy Bueno –  Floor 1, Carrer de Tous i Maroto, 5B, 07001, Palma.
Palau March Museum – Carrer del Palau Reial, 18, 07001, Palma.
Vegan&Raw – Plaça del Bisbe Berenguer de Palou, nº2, 07003, Palma.
Compost – Carrer de Rubén Darío, 4, 07012, Palma.

Have you been to Mallorca yet? You should definitely go and check out these lovely places. Please let me know if you do! You can leave a comment or show me by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel 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.

 

STOP taking the birth control pill

In this article I want to talk about the birth control pill and why you shouldn’t take it. I will tell you about my own experiences and I hope this will make you think about your choice of contraceptives. At first I will tell you about my journey taking the pill and in the second half of this article I will tell you about my journey without taking the pill. You can read everything or just the part you’re most interested in.

TAKING THE PILL
When I was 17 I started to take the birth control pill. I did this for 2 reasons. My main reason was to not get pregnant. I was in a serious relationship and not the biggest                      condom fan. Buying condoms cost money too and the birth control pill I could get for free. So it seemed to be a good choice. My mum was on it, from since I can remember and many other people I knew were too. I didn’t see any harm in it, but almost saw it as a next step in life. My hope was to also have better skin. I struggle with my skin since the start of my puberty and don’t we all want smooth skin? So that was my second reason and the main reason I went for the Diane-35. I heard good things about it, in terms of skin clearing up. I think I took the Diane-35 for about 1-2 years, but my breasts were so sensitive and painful 1-2 weeks every time before I’d get my period and that wasn’t ideal. Also my skin didn’t clear up. It maybe got a little better, but I could hardly tell the difference. So I went to the doctors to discuss a different brand. I then swapped the Diane-35 for the Yasmin. The Yasmin is a lighter pill, but apparently would still be beneficial for my skin. After a few months my breast were less painful, but my skin still looked the same. I did feel better being on this pill though and so I sticked with it. For many years..

But then more and more articles popped up, saying how bad it is. Of course in the back of my head I knew this, but I also loved the pill as it gave me security and I liked the fact that I knew exactly what day my period would start and that I could control it in that way. But when I was 27 I stopped taking it, what means I took it for 10 years straight. That is fairly long and this, together with being curious of what would happen, is why I thought it was time to stop. I wasn’t in a relationship at that time and didn’t have any interest being in one ant time soon, so perfect timing. Only you can’t plan love and half a year later I met a guy I really liked and so I started thinking about taking it again. It actually was just in the end of all the side effect symptoms going away, but being in love and really seeing a future with this guy, I thought I could just take it temporarily. I still had some pill strips left and so I started taking it again. This time I really had a proper love-hate relationship with the pill though. I loved the security, but every time I put it in my mouth I actually didn’t want to swallow it. It didn’t feel right to take hormones that will change something in my body. I like being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. Taking the birth control pill felt like doing the opposite from where I stand for. Also, the birth control pill isn’t vegan and that really bothered me too.

It was 7 months later when my mum send me some articles about how dangerous the birth control pill can be. My mum stopped taking them a few years ago as she had horrible migraines and it turned out it was because of the pill. I actually tried to avoid the articles she send me and I consciously closed my eyes for it, but the articles my mum was talking about were about people dying from it. I know the people who died didn’t only die because of taking the pill, but it did play a big part in their death. This woke me up. Back to condoms it was, but I also started to do some research about natural birth control. About keeping track of what your body is telling you. This way you can find out on what days you’re fertile and on what days you’re not. I mostly learned this from the book: ‘Taking Charge of you Fertility’, written by Toni Weschler, MPH. I love this book, because even tough I knew quite a lot about my cycles, it really helped understanding my body even more. I recommend every woman to read it, even if you’re not interested in birth control, it still teaches you a lot about how it all works. This book is not only for preventing pregnancy btw, it is also helpful for couples who are trying to get pregnant instead. A must read for woman!

Researching natural birth control, obviously led me to the Lady Comp too. This little machine really intrigues me. In the book ‘Taking Charge of your Fertility’ you learn how to chart manually, but the Lady Comp does this for you, digitally. The only thing you need to do is put the thermometer in your mouth, every single morning at the same time. This Lady Comp does the rest and will tell you exactly what days you’re good to go and what days you need to use a condom. I would love to try this, because it seems like a great solution for all woman who do not want to put hormones in their bodies any longer. I never got really into charting my cycles properly, because unfortunately my relationship ended and not getting pregnant wasn’t a priority any more. This doesn’t mean I’m not interested anymore, because even not being intimate with somebody, I love the fact that you can learn about your cycles, learn why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling and how your body works. I think this is basic knowledge every woman should know.


STOPPING THE PILL
The last day I took the birth control pill was the 9th of July 2017. The day I decided I was not going to take them any longer, I was on my period (that started the 13th of July), so I simply didn’t start a new strip (but in case you want to stop, you can stop at any time you want). I knew from the last time that there will be side effects. I just hoped that they wouldn’t be as obvious this time. I only took them for about half a year this time. I decided to keep a little journal until I get my first pill-free period, so I can keep track of the side effects I noticed. I did this for myself, but I thought it might help you to get an idea of what can happen if you’d stop too. Just remember that everybody is different and that your body might react in a different way.

26-07
Today I experienced some heatwaves. It happens in the days before and around my ovulation and I  clearly remember this from the last time I stopped taking the pill. It used to be quite bad at times, even up to the point I felt dizzy.

31-07
I did not experience any side effects so far anymore. I did have some heatwaves, but as I’m in Mallorca this week and it’s 35 degrees every day, it’s trickier to notice. I will have my ovulation around now, so the next time I might experience something different, will probably be just before or whilst I’m on my period. I’m planning my detox now, because this will help to get rid of those nasty hormones in my body. I’m super excited for this.

08-08
In a few days or maybe the end of this week I will probably have my period. This is the first period after I stopped taking the pill. I can notice I’m near, because I was very tired yesterday and today (I always have this a few days before my period). I’m also getting lots of spots, more than I had being on the pill. When being on the pill, the week before my period my skin was actually always at its best. So this must be a reaction too. I’m confident that it will be better later on.

13-08
I still didn’t get my period, what is odd as I did experience the symptoms I normally have before my period starts. My body might just be a little confused. The last time I stopped I got my period on the exact day I’d normally het my period. This time it’s later and here are some possible reasons why: because around my ovulation I was traveling + I was more stressed because of ending my relationship and because it’s the first period without taking pills.

14-08
Today I’m super tired. I feel like staying in my bed and sleeping all day long. Also a few times I had some very painful stitches in my tummy. I have a lot of water retention, my ankles are swollen and my tummy feels tensed. A lot more than on my pill-periods. Hopefully this will all go as soon as my period is here.

15-08
Today, in the late evening, I got my first period. This means my first pill-free cycle was 36 days.

18-08
My period was quite normal the first few days. I did have a slight tummy ache on the first day, but I was almost happy to feel this. I know for some girls it can be hell, but it’s also natural. Today I can already notice it’s a little less, what is normal for a 3rd day. I can’t notice that my periods are heavier, but then this is only the first one.

So that was my first period. I didn’t want to keep a journal longer than that, because it would just be repeating myself. I can tell you that the heatwaves were a lot less around my second ovulation and gone by the 3rd. I remember from the fist time I stopped the pill that I had heatwaves really badly for a few months, in the first month I couldn’t even go to work one day. So that is interesting, because it looks like it’s a little easier this time, I can’t say for sure why that is. Logically it could be that it’s because there are less hormones now, because I stopped before, but it could also be because my body knows what to do this time or maybe it’s the things I ate that had an effect too. I can’t tell, because I’m not a doctor. I’m just happy that it’s effecting me less this time.

The following months..

Skin
Something that did get worse, is my skin. I have more outbreaks and a lot of redness. I can now slowly start to see it’s getting a bit better again though. This is also because I’m trying new things, trying to make it better. I might do a separate article about skin if you like (let me know).

Fatigue & Cravings
When I was taking the pill I was always struggling with horrible fatigue for 1 day, exactly 2 days before my period (as this was mostly a Tuesday, I named it Tired-Tuesday). Even though it was awful, as I couldn’t put my foot in front of the other one and I just wanted to lay down all day long, it was such a good indicator. I still get tired, but it lasts a few days now instead of just one day, with some ups and downs. I know I can manage it a little bit if I watch my food intake (more raw and lighter meals), but we woman all know that watching your food intake before and during your period is as hard as running a marathon on your hands! I can’t say my cravings are better or worse now. I think it’s quite the same still.

Cramps
I never had really bad cramps before starting the pill, I basically didn’t have any during and I have a little bit of cramps only the first day of my period now I stopped taking the pil. I never take any medicine, but I just take it easy that day and sometimes use a hot water bottle (this really helps). The funny thing is that I’m almost happy to feel it, because it means that my body is going back to its natural state again. I’m sure every girl gets period cramps or at least knows how they feels. Some girls have it really badly and it’s complete hell. Many doctors actually recommend the pill, because the pill can definitely make it better. But before you do this, please try different methods first though. I  know it can get really bad in it can really effect your every day life, but cramps are natural. Try to make it better (don’t focus on it going away completely, because in many cases it won’t) with natural remedies.

Water Retention 
This is really bothering me and being on the pill definitely made it worse. The week before my period my ankles were always more swollen (they’re always a little swollen since I started the pill) and my tummy was so tensed because of it, that it was hurting and I was having trouble bending over. I can now see that my ankles are less swollen in general, but just before my period the water retention is actually worse than being on the pill. Luckily it goes away as soon as I’m on my period.

Cycles
Being on the pill makes your cycles very precise. I loved this about the pill. Now my cycles are always a little different, but because I know my  body a little better and I’m learning more every time, I can now recognise some symptoms and still kind of know when my period will be. It’s very normal to have longer and shorter cycles. The length of your cycle depends on when you ovulate. Your ovulation is a ‘funny thing’, because it will never be on the same day. It’s very sensitive. Whenever you’re stressed or when you’re traveling around the time you would normally ovulate, it will wait until you’re less stressed or when you finished traveling. So it can happen that your ovulation will be a whole week later. This means your cycle is longer, because the days between your ovulation and your period are alway the same. My cycles since I stopped taking the pill: 36 days, 28 days, 39 days (I was traveling before my ovulation), 36 days, 33 days, 36 days. As you can see my cycles are mostly over 30 days. This is totally normal. Many woman think they’re overtime after 28 days, but every woman has a different cycle and it’s completely normal. Normal natural cycles can be up to 40 days.

I never want to go back taking the pill. In fact I’m so done with it, that I threw away the 4 strips that were left. I want to focus on new methods that are not harmful for your body, like the Lady Comp. Putting hormones in your body isn’t something you should consider if you’re looking for a contraceptive.

Are you taking birth control pills? Or any other form of hormone contraceptive? What is your experience? Are you thinking about stopping too? Share your experience, so we can help each other and create awareness! You can do this by leaving a comment below or via IG (tag me and I will tag your story). Thank you! 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

Caramellos

Who doesn’t like meringues? I think a lot of people do, it’s quite popular in dessert these days as well. You make meringues from egg white though. Or is there another plant-based way? Guess what.. there is! Everything you can eat, I can eat vegan! By using the water of chickpeas you can very easily make meringues yourself, without any cruelty involved. You need a can of chickpeas, without added salt. As pure as possible. I used Biona chickpeas for mine and they worked really well. Meringues are a very yummy, light, but sweet snack. They go very well with coffee, tea or on top of some nicecream. By adding agave nectar and some palm sugar you really get like a sticky caramel flavour, which I love.. I hope you do to!

CARAMELLOS

Serves: 16-20

-1 can chickpeas (water)
-2 tbs agave nectar
-3 tbs palm sugar
-pinch of cacao powder (optional)

-Mixing bowl
-Electric mixer
-Baking paper
-Tray
-Oven

-Preheat the oven to 100C.
-Make sure you use chickpeas in water, with no salt.
-Separate the chickpeas from the water and put the chickpeas itself for another recipe.
-Put the liquid in a mixing bowl and start mixing it with an electric mixing for 3-5 min. You will slowly see the liquid turn into foam. When peaks form, it’s ready.
-Then slowly add the agave and the palm sugar whilst mixing on a low speed. Mix it in well.
-Put the baking paper on the tray.
-Drop 1 spoonful on the baking paper and form a circle.
-Put them in the oven for 1,5 hour.
-Let them cool down before sprinkling on some cacao powder.

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