BOOK: The Inner Life of Animals by Peter Wohlleben

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

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

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

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

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

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Honest Heart

What is better than a caramel covered heart? Well, I guess that would be a heart that truly cares about your heart. Isn’t that where love is all about?! Caring for each other. Real, honest love. Valentine’s Day is nice and all, but it’s also quite commercial. Make sure that the day of love isn’t ending in something superficial, but show the people you love how much you really care about them. You can start with making them this caramel heart. Hehe.. A pure honest heart, because there aren’t any bad ingredients in here. All healthy and good for you. In fact, the first ingredient you will see, are chickpeas! Sending you lots of love from me to you!

HONEST HEART

serves: 6-8

Cake
1 can chickpeas (drained)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup of maple syrup
6 soft medjool dates
Splash of milk
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
4 tbs cacao powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Caramel Topping
10 medjool dates
1/4 maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Dried (or fresh) berries (optional)

-Preheat the oven to 180C.
-Mix all the wet ingredients in a food processor until a smooth paste: peanut butter, maple syrup, dates and a splash of milk.
-Add all the dry ingredients to the paste: almond flour, coconut, cacao powder, baking soda and the salt. Blend until you have a sticky dough.
-Put the the dough onto the baking tray and shape it into a heart (2-3 cm thick). Put the tray in the oven for about 20-25 min.
-Mix the ingredients for the caramel sauce in a food processor until a smooth sauce.
-Let the heart cool down and put the caramel sauce on top. Decorate with fresh or dried fruit.

Are you celebrating Valentine’s Day? Are you celebrating with your lover or with all the people you love? Whatever you do, spread the love!! I’d love to see your creations of this Honest Heart. Please show me on Instagram, by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

0Waste #4: Beauty Swaps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

0Waste #3: On The Way Swaps

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘ and ‘0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps‘, I’d now like to introduce you to some simple things everyone can do to produce less waste on the way!

STRAWS
Everyone knows they are the worst! Avoid plastic straw at all cost. They are the reason many turtles and other wildlife die. It’s so not necessary. If you really want to have a straw for a smoothie for example, choose reusable straws. There are many types: metal, glass, bamboo, silicone. I have silicone ones myself and I love them. I don’t think I’d choose them again (I bought them about 3 years ago) as they’re not recyclable, but I must say that they are great quality. I love the feel of it on my lips in comparison with the harder materials. Invest in a good (set of) straw(s) and make sure you always have on in your handbag if you like to use straws on the way. I’d go for metal ones if I’d choose again now.

CUTLERY
You can of course carry around a set of your kitchen cutlery around and that is totally fine. This is helpful whenever you want to buy something from a market stall or from the supermarket that requires cutlery. Though I invested in a travel spoon and fork (in one), made out of titanium. One side is a fork and the other side is a spoon. I totally love it! I keep it in my handbag and it has been super useful. It’s easy to clean and light + small to carry around. There are also complete travel sets including a full set of cutlery (made of metal or bamboo) and a straw. I think it’s a personal choice and also I think different people have different needs. Do a little research and find out what will work best for you.

TRAVEL CUP
I used to always drink my tea (sometimes every day, shame on me!) in a take away cup. So much waste! And then I’m especially talking about the lids. All plastic! So a few years ago I bought myself a travel cup. I saw it and fell in love with it, so I didn’t mind investing in it at all. My one is just so pretty. I bought my one at Starbucks and it’s in my favourite pink colour. I don’t drink coffee (yuk!), but I use my one for tea, so I’m very happy with a medium size. There are so many brands selling travel cups though and as a coffee drinker you might want a smaller one. So go and explore the options. A great thing about getting your coffee/tea in your own cup is that in many coffee shops you actually get a (often 25p) discount. Yay!

WATER BOTTLE
An easy one! Using a reusable water bottle. Luckily many people are using one already. Are you as well? If not, please invest in a nice water bottle. I used to have a Bobble Bottle. I had many to be honest, because of heavy use they broke after a while. I love them, because they make water taste sooo much better. Especially here in the UK, because I think the water here tastes like swimming pool water. The downside is that they are made out of plastic and when they only last for about half a year, I was creating plastic waste. So I bought a metal one instead and dealt with the taste (I now add pieces of ginger and lemon to mask the flavour and it’s so much better!). I totally loved the bottle, but after a few weeks the water started to taste like metal, because inside the bottle it started to oxidate. What made me buy the HIP bottle, which I totally love, but is also a plastic one. This one will for sure last very long, because when I drink it keeps the shape. It’s also recyclable, but I do love to get a metal one again when I’m in need for a new one, as I think they are most durable. So tips are welcome!

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

0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘, I’d like to introduce you to some simple things you can do to produce less waste. Let’s look at the things everyone can swap in the kitchen!

FOOD CONTAINERS
When you cook a little too much and you have left overs or when you prep your food for a set amount of days you want to store them. Most people use plastic containers or the even bigger enemy: cling film! Most plastic containers eventually break when used a lot and create the worst waste, as this type of plastic can almost never be recycled. So if you use plastic containers, make sure they’re very very durable. A better choice would be glass containers. I’ve got these really nice glass containers with bamboo lids from Ikea. They’re perfect as they can go in the fridge, freezer and even the oven (great for a pre prepped lasagna)! They do have a little bit of plastic round the lid, but they’re very durable. They sell them in different sizes and shapes.

FOOD BAGS
It’s easy to quickly put some snacks or left over food in a zip bag and to store in the fridge or freezer, but using plastic bags for that is just a no go for me. I often want to use them though (especially to freeze fruit), but look for another solution. Until I discovered the bags from Freefall Products. They are made from very durable food grade silicone and I love them. They are super handy, can be used in the dishwasher, freezer and you can even microwave them (without the seal). I highly recommend them. They come in a 4 pack and in 4 different colours. If you want to use them as well, you can buy them here.

OWN BAGS
Since October 2015 we all pay 5p (might soon change to 10p) per plastic bag whenever we decide to accept one in a shop. I think this is great, because since that is introduced I see a lot of people who brought their own bags instead. This was the whole reason why the 5p was introduced in the first place and it’s working. I do still see people with plastic bags though, even though it’s no trouble at all to bring your own. I always keep a foldable little bag in my handbag for little things, but whenever I’m grocery shopping I bring bigger bags. Make it a habit to alway bring your own bags. Even though some shops offer bags from recycled/recyclable plastic, paper bags and you will use them again after. They’re simply not durable and so it’s always better to say no.

PACKAGING FREE 
Now this isn’t partially in the kitchen directly, but it’ll end up in the kitchen, so I thought to categorise this into kitchen swaps too. When you go shopping, try to always choose something that doesn’t have packaging. Buy fresh whole foods as much as you can. This isn’t only healthier, but they’re also the foods that can come without packaging. Some supermarkets are better than others though, so you just have to find the ones that offer lots of packaging free fruit and veggies. Hopefully in 2019 supermarkets will expand this more and more. There are also shops that are totally packaging free, where you can buy grains, beans, rice, nuts, seeds, coffee/tea, dried fruit etc. These are unfortunately quite rare, but I really hope that they will eventually be the norm. Find out if there is one near you. When there isn’t one nearby, you can always go there once in a while and buy in bulk. This isn’t only good for 0Waste living, but also better for your wallet!

DRAWSTRING BAGS
Whenever you go grocery shopping, make sure you’ve got some drawstring bags with you. This way you don’t have your apples, brussel sprouts and potatoes all mixed up in your trolley and it’s easier to weigh them and move them around. I purchased some organic cotton ones and I’m super happy with them. I think I’ll also get some closed ones soon, so I can also use them whenever I go to the Whole Foods Market to buy oats, beans and nuts in bulk.

GLASS JARS
When you come back from your packaging free shopping trip, you of course do have to store all these delicious products. You can’t keep them in the drawstring bags forever, especially when it’s something that will last a long time and you want to use your drawstring bags for the next trip. Use glass jars. You can either purchase these (Ikea again is a very good way to start) or you can recycle. Meaning that you can use empty glass jars that used to contain food and you would otherwise throw away. I, for example, always buy huge (glass) jars of coconut oil and whenever I finish the jar, I keep them so I can store other things in there.

COOK FROM SCRATCH 
I know I know, we don’t all have the time to cook every meal of every day from scratch. Just try to do it as much as possible though. Prep your food on a day that is most convenient to you. Be smart about it! Prep your meals or part of your meals and keep this in the fridge (in your glass containers). This way you won’t only live a more 0Waste life, but I’m sure it’ll also help you to eat healthier and more consistent. Also think about prepping things you can use for a longer time. Like granola, vegan parmesan, (plant) milk, flapjacks, bread (freeze!), tortilla wraps and I’m sure you can come up with more examples that you can make and enjoy.

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

0Waste #1: Intro

Let’s talk about waste! The waste we produce by buying things. Things we need and things we don’t need. I especially want to talk about plastic waste. I think we all know that (single use) plastic is not good. We all know it, but are we doing something about it? To be really honest with you, even though I did pay attention to it, I was also a little lazy about it at times. Things like buying apples in plastic instead of buying them lose. As  you maybe read in ‘Cheers to 2019‘, one of my New Years Resolutions is to live a more waste free life. That’s why I thought it’s time to write an article about it and to pay more attention to it on my Instagram account as well. In this article I want to talk about the different kinds of waste, divided into: Plastic, Microplastic, General Waste, Food Waste, Chemical Waste, Clutter Waste, Electrical Waste and Fast Fashion. It’s a little bit of a journey for me, but I hope you will join me and we can all inspire each other!

PLASTIC
So like I said, the worst is (single use) plastic. For example: plastic bags, food that comes in (or with) plastic and of course plastic bottles. Many times you can easily make a change and sometimes it’s hard to avoid plastic. When you pay attention to it, you will notice, there is plastic everywhere! In fact, there is so much plastic waste pollution in the world, that we are destroying this planet. We can’t continue doing what we’re doing. Each year 4.8-12.7 million tonnes of plastic are entering the oceans. So many animals die from plastic pollution and it is destroying the eco system in the ocean so much, to the point that the oceans will be completely destroyed. This isn’t only heartbreaking for all the innocent animals, but without the oceans we will die too. So it’s super important to make changes and try our very best.

MICROPLASTIC
Then there is also something that is called ‘microplastic’ and I decided to make a separate paragraph on this, because they are a huge problem. Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that are 5 mm or smaller and they can come from any type of plastic. It can come from big pieces of plastic that are slowly becoming smaller and smaller by water and sun exposure, but also from synthetic fabrics, like cloths, sponges and also your clothes. By washing your synthetic clothes or cleaning with plastic sponges, these tiny pieces of plastic are going straight into nature. Sometimes microplastics are so small, that you can’t see them with the naked eye. This makes it very dangerous, because it’s everywhere. Sea animals ingest it and it’s also coming back to us. In a way that the microplastics are in our drinking water. So you consume plastic on a daily basis.

GENERAL WASTE
Even though plastic is the worst, I think that whenever we can avoid any sort of waste, we should. The average household in the UK produces more than a tonne of waste a year. This is absurd if you ask me and we should change this. Nowadays, everything has packaging though, because you can buy everything ready-made. To make things easy. From pizza to crisps, from pre-cooked vegetables to bean burgers etc etc.
Whenever you can, at least choose plastic free. Choose paper, wood, (organic) cotton or anything that is biodegradable. This is always better than plastic. Though, even better, is to try not to choose any at all. Choose things where you can use you own reusable packaging. Try to not produce waste. This can be tricky, but you can make it into a sport to be as much waste free as you can.
Something we can do to reduce waste, is to make more things ourselves, from scratch. This will not only reduce our general waste, but it will also be better for your own health. I understand that not everybody can afford to make their own pizzas from scratch after a long dat at work. But we can try to do it more often. We can prepare things in advance so they will take less time whenever you start cooking. Overall, what we need to do is to stop being lazy and to just try our best.

FOOD WASTE
Food waste is something that I have a big problem with. About 1/3 of the food that is produced is lost or thrown away. This is ridiculous! People are often a bit greedy when it comes to food. Our brain thinks we can (and should) eat a lot more than we need or what our stomach can handle. And did you know that a lot of food is wasted because they don’t look pretty? Something else that is wasting a lot of food is that people want to have choice. Supermarkets stock up, because people want to choose what they want. If there was only 2 types of bread left over in the end of the day, but the other supermarket has 10 types, people go to the other supermarket. So supermarkets make sure to have a lot of choice, even though that means that they have to throw away tonnes of it. People also tend to buy more than they can eat. Especially when people are hungry, they buy too much and food will go bad. Now what can you do to waste less food?
-Make a meal plan and only buy what you need (don’t forget to check the expiry dates and make sure the food is still ok to eat on the day you planned to eat it).
-Don’t be afraid to choose food that doesn’t look pretty. They taste the same, but people don’t want to buy them and so they often go to waste.
-Buy single bananas. They are always the ones left over in the end, because people rather buy them in a bunch.
-Store all food in the right places so they last longer.
-Don’t cook too much food, but just the right portions.
-If there are any left overs, store them in the right place and eat them later.

CHEMICAL WASTE
With chemical waste I mean the waste we produce by cleaning our houses, clothes and ourselves. What products do you use to clean your house? There is a huge choice when it comes to cleaning. There are different cleaning products for all different things. Kitchen cleaner, washing up liquid, bathroom cleaner, cleaners for the tiles, for the sink, for the toilet, for the floor etc. I’m sure you know what I mean. And I think most of us have more than 5 bottles of different cleaners. Is this really necessary? In my opinion I think this is just mainly to make more money. You only need a few things and you can just as easily use natural cleaning products. You can even make some yourself if you’re up to it.
What about doing the laundry? There are many well known brands and there are many different types again. For colours, for whites, for delicates, products to removes all different kind of stains etc. And one even better than the other. A lot of people get allergic reactions of laundry soaps/liquids. Then how can this be good for the environment? Always try to use a natural laundry soap. Something that is biodegradable and doesn’t harm our world.
Last but not least, what do you use to wash yourself? Again.. soooo much choice, probably even more than all the household and laundry cleaners combined. Did you know that chemicals in soaps enter your body (via the skin) within 26 seconds? Always use natural products! I can’t stress this enough. After all, it’s not only the planet, but also your own body we’re talking about.
All these products go down the drain. Where do these chemicals all go after that? Most water all goes to a wastewater/sewage treatment plant. There they treat the water until it can be used again. It’s a very technical story, but in the end the left overs from the chemicals end up in a landfill for environmentally safe disposal. They are not biodegradable and so we produce waste, harmful waste. This is why it’s so important to use natural and biodegradable products. This is better for your skin and overall health, but definitely also for the environment.

CLUTTER WASTE
A lot of us do it, buying things we don’t actually need. We buy it because they’re cheap, because we think we might need them later on or we buy gifts for people not knowing they will like/use it. This isn’t only adding to our waste problem, but it’s also a waste of money. Please stop doing this. Only buy things you really need and you will actually use short-term. Try to buy quality things, that last long (or even forever). Make sure that the gifts you get people are something the other person truly appreciates.
Something else that creates clutter waste, are free things. Who doesn’t like to get something for free? Being Dutch and growing up in the Netherlands, I know all too well how much people like to get things for free. Even though they don’t need it, they won’t use it and it’ll just clutter their house (and mind) and eventually pollute the world. Don’t accept free things (incl. leaflets) when you won’t do anything with them.

ELECTRICAL WASTE
Owning the latest phone, best television and newest gadgets is something that has gone  over the top. As soon as a new iPhone is released, people rush to the Apple stores to get their hands on it. Is this really necessary though? Most of the time there isn’t even a really big difference. The worst thing is that a lot of phones, gadgets etc., are designed in a way that they will only last a certain amount of time. What can you do against electrical waste?
-Don’t bother with always getting the latest stuff. It won’t make you a happier person, because you can’t buy happiness.
-Always go for quality.
-Look after your things! I think this is very important. Always handle them with care and make them last as long as you possibly can.
-When things break, repair them. Or, for example, when your phone battery is going down, get a new battery, not a new phone.

FAST FASHION WASTE
Walking around in the latest fashion maybe seems important to you, but is it really? Fast fashion is something that really bothers me as well. Often people walk around in things they don’t even really like, but just wear for the season, because it happens to be the trend. This isn’t healthy for yourself, but it’s certainly not healthy for the world. About 80 billion pieces of clothing are consumed every year. I find this is a frightening number, realising that there are 7 billion people in the world and many of those people don’t even own clothes. A lot of clothes, even though they’re still perfectly fine to wear, end up in a landfill. Think for yourself how important it is to follow the latest trends. Look after your clothes and always buy quality over quantity. Also make sure that your clothes are ethically and are made of biodegradable fabrics (remember the ‘microplastics’?).

Whatever you do, try your very best, because we can’t afford to be lazy anymore when it comes to reducing our waste. That’s why in the next few weeks I will share ways to live a more waste free life. Who’s up for that?!

Are you trying to live a (more) waste free life? What do you do to help the environment? Do you have tips or do you want to say something about this all? Please do! You can share and comment below or via Instagram, by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

 

Cheers to 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MY COMPLETE XMAS DINNER

When you read this I’m on my way to the Netherlands. I’m going by car/ferry this year, so I can take my dog Nola. Tomorrow I will celebrate Xmas with my family, as that is the only day we can all make it. After the presents we will enjoy our Xmas dinner. This year I’m making the whole Xmas dinner by myself. Years back we always all made one dish each, last year my brother and sister in law made dessert, but it looks like this year it’s just me. I do like to make everything by myself, but I also think it’s a shame, because I always enjoyed the dishes of others too. And just the idea you made it together is nice. But because I’m making everything by myself, it does mean that I can share a complete Xmas dinner with you (8 dishes in total). I will give you all the recipes I made for the dinner itself and I will give you dessert separately (so 9 recipes if you include dessert). You can find the ‘Xmas Stars‘ dessert here. I chose to make it into a buffet style, so I can make lots of separate dishes and everybody can eat what they like best. If you want to, you can choose one of them (the chicory for example) as a starter. It’s up to you. This Xmas dinner is enough for 4-6 people. I hope you will enjoy the recipes.

VEGAN WELLINGTON

2 pastry sheets
600 gr mushrooms (chopped)
2 steakcs (I used Vivera) (chopped)
2 onions (chopped)
2 small cloves of garlic (minced)
handful of parsley (chopped)
salt/pepper (to taste)
1/2 tbs butter

-Preheat the oven at 200C.
-Fry the onions and the garlic in a frying pan for about 3 minutes.
-Add the mushrooms and fry them until they start to get smaller (about 3-4 minutes).
-Add the steakc, the parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.
-Grease a baking tin with butter and put the pastry sheet inside.
-Make sure that all the water from the filling is gone before you put it in the baking tin.
-Cut out a big rectangle (as big as the baking tin) and cover the top. Make some cuts in the top and put it in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown.


FRIED RICE

100 gr of rice
100 gr firm tofu
1 onion (chopped)
1/2 courgette (chopped)
1 carrot (grated)
1 bell pepper (chopped)
2 tomatoes (chopped)
2 pak choi (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1-2 tbs sesame seeds
3 tbs peanuts (chopped)
salt/pepper (to taste)

-Cook the rice as described on the package.
-Fry the onion for about 4 min in some olive oil.
-Scramble the tofu: crumble it up and add the garlic and the turmeric. Mix it all together for about 3 min with salt to taste on a high fire.
-Add the courgette and fry again for about 3-4 min.
-Add the carrot, bell pepper, tomatoes and pak choi and keep mixing it for about 3-4 min.
-Then you can add the rice, the soy sauce (use more if you like), the chilli flakes, the sesame seeds and some salt and pepper to taste. Mix again until everything is mixed up well.
-Sprinkle the peanuts on top.


AUBERGINE

1 aubergine (sliced)
3 tbs olive oil
300 gr cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
1 shallot (chopped)
1 small clove of garlic (minced)
handful of fresh  basil
salt to taste

-Cut the aubergines in big slices (about 1 cm thick).
-Brush the on both sides with some olives oil.
-Put them on the grill until you can see black lines (about 3 min each side).
-In the meantime fry the shallot and the garlic in a frying pan. Add the tomatoes after about 2 minutes and fry them until they become a little soft (about 2-3 min).
-Add the basil and salt to taste.


CHICORY

2 chicory
4 slices of ham (I used the vegan Quorn)
handful of cheese (grated) (I used daiya)
3 tbs corn

-Preheat the oven at 200C
-Cut the chicory in half (in length) and cut out the hard bit in the middle.
-Put them in an oven dish and put a slice of ham on each half.
-Divide the corn on top and then sprinkle the cheese on top.
-Put it in the oven for about 20-25 min.


CAULIFLOWER

1/2 cauliflower
2 tbs nutritional yeast
splash of oat milk
salt to taste
1 tbs of olive oil

-Chop up the cauliflower very finely. You could also use a kitchen machine and pulse a few times.
-Fry the cauliflower with the olive oil and a bit of salt in a frying pan until it becomes a little soft (about 5 min).
-Add the nutritional yeast, mix it up and then add a splash of oat milk. Mix well until the nutritional yeast and the oat milk form a sauce.


BRUSSELS SPROUTS

250 gr brussels sprouts
4 cloves of garlic (cut in half)
1 tbs olive oil
salt/pepper (to taste)

-Preheat the oven at 220C.
-Put the brussels sprouts and the garlic in an oven dish and add the olive oil + salt/pepper to taste. Mix well.
-Put them in the oven for about 20-25 min.


MASH

300 gr potatoes (peeled and chopped)
200 gr carrots (peeled and chopped)
splash of oat milk
1-2 tbs butter
1 tbs whole grain mustard
2 tbs nutritional yeast
salt to taste

-Cook the potatoes and the carrots for about 20 min.
-Mash them up together with the oat milk and the butter.
-Add the mustard, nutritional yeast and some salt to taste. Mix well.


SALAD

1 cucumber (chopped)
3 tomatoes (chopped)
1 big avocado (chopped)
handful of basil (chopped)
handful of parsley (chopped)
1/4 cup black olives (sliced)
2 tbs Caesar salad dressing (I used ‘Follow Your Heart’)
salt/pepper to taste

-Mix everything together in a big bowl and add salt and pepper to taste.

 

What are you having for Xmas? And will you make everything by yourself or do you have help? Will you copy my Xmas dinner or make some of my recipes? Please let me know or show me on IG by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

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

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