Minimalism #2 – Presents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Routine Yaa or Nah?

Some of you may, just like me, swear they love routine. Some of you might be allergic for only mentioning the word routine. I do get that for both ways there are pros and cons. But a routine doesn’t have to mean you plan every second of your life (even I would be deeply unhappy if I did that). To have meals around the same time every day is a routine. And this is something what can be very beneficial for your body. For myself I created a morning routine, a day routine and an evening routine. I like to have something I can hold on to and do things that are good for my health. I feel happier and much calmer if I follow some sort of routine. I will tell you about my routines and it might inspire you to have a routine yourself.

MY MORNING ROUTINE 
Almost every morning I wake up at 6:00 and from there I kind of split my morning into blocks of 15 minutes. I start (right after opening my eyes) with taking some deep breaths and some stretching. This really helps me to wake up. When you’re sleeping everything in your body goes a little slower. Taking deep breaths and stretching your muscles is good for your blood flow and your body gets a ton of oxygen straight away. Then I make myself my morning water. This is a big glass (400ml) of warm (I mix cold and boiled) water, the juice of half a lemon and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. This cleanses your body, gives it a vitamin C boost and wakes up your metabolism. I also use this time to go to the toilet etc. Just 15 minutes where I can wake up in a relaxed way. Then I do some yoga exercises for about 15 minutes, followed by some meditation. Then it’s time to get dressed, do my make up and get ready for the day. At 7:00 I take the time to make and eat breakfast. This always includes a green smoothie, either with fruit or overnight porridge. Just before I leave for work around 7:45, I take a little time for affirmations, visualisation and sometimes I do some writing or reading too. By this time I’m full of energy and ready to start my day. This energy is with me the whole day whenever I start my day like this. I have a rule to not touch my phone during my morning routine.

To cut it short: 
06:00 – Deep breaths and stretching + morning water.
06:15 – Yoga.
06:30 – Meditation.
06:45 – Get dressed + Make up.
07:00 – Breakfast.
07:30 – Affirmations/Visualisation/Writing or Reading.
07:45 – Work.


MY DAY ROUTINE
During the day there are a lot of different things happening of course and every day is different. I do try to have meals/snacks around the same time though. Around 10:30 I have a snack. This is basically always fruit. I like to eat fruit in the morning, so my body can easily digest it and absorb all the vitamins. Then I have lunch around 12:30, but I always squeeze in some exercise before I start eating my lunch. This means I’m doing some crunches, squats and press ups etc. I try to do this every day, apart from the Sunday. My lunch is 9/10 times a salad with lotsss of veggies. Then around 16:00 I’ll start to be hungry again and I either eat some nuts, raw veggies or sometimes a Nakd bar or something like that.

To cut it short: 
10:30 – Snack (fruit)
12:00 – Exercise.
12:30 – Lunch.
16:00 – Snack (nuts, raw veggies).


MY EVENING ROUTINE
I always try to have my dinner around 19:00, but on my days off, I often have it a little earlier. Then I take a shower (I sometimes do this just before going to bed too, but I prefer to do it after dinner). I always try not to work after dinner, but to use that time to relax. Sometimes it does happen I want to finish something. My max is 20:00, after that I force myself to relax). I often spend the evening reading, watching Netflix, using Pinterest and I scroll a little through my social media apps etc. I don’t always have a snack in the evening, it depends a little bit on how I feel. Sometimes I’m still full until bed time and sometimes I do eat something like veggie crisps, a piece of chocolate or some home-made biscuits/cake or something. I also make myself a Chai Latte quite a lot. This is a real treat for me, I love it! At 22:00 I start to get ready for bed. I prepare some things for the next day (put my breakfast necessities on the counter, pack snacks etc.) I brush my teeth and plat my hair etc. If it isn’t 22:30 yet by that time, I read a little bit and just before closing my eyes, I always wish my boyfriend a good night sleep. Often I do relaxation exercises before I go to sleep, to make myself fall asleep fast and to benefit my overall sleep.

To cut it short: 
19:00 – Dinner.
19:30 – Work or relax.
20:30 – Snack (veggie crisps, chocolate, chai latte).
22:00 – Get ready for bed (brush teeth etc.)
22:30 – Sleep.

Now, I don’t have alarms on my phone with all these times and I don’t feel bad when some things happen a little earlier of later. The times for me are just guidelines. I think as soon as you are going to plan your life in minutes it will get super stressed. And having a routine is for the opposite effect. Sometimes I also skip some things and that is fine. You need to enjoy life and trying to function like a robot is really not a good idea. These routines just give me a a sense of peace. I feel much better when I follow all these steps, because they’re all things that are beneficial to my health. Especially my morning routine is very important to me. It’s the base for the rest of my day and I feel a big difference during the day when I don’t do it at all.

Do you have a routine? Or is a routine really not for you? Please tell me about your lifestyle routine. Maybe we can learn from each other! Please let me know in the comments below or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. You can also tag me! Thank you and have a lovely day! X

Veganism and Christianity

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How to be: Highly Attractive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Banana Island

So as some of you know, I’ve been on Banana Island for a week, from 20-26 of March. For the people who don’t know what Banana Island is, it’s not a real island. Being on Banana Islands means that you only eat bananas for a certain amount of days. I chose to do 7 days. This way your body can make real changes and it’s still very doable. You can eat bananas unlimited. Though, you have to try to at least eat about 20-25 bananas a day. To have some variety and extra vitamins and minerals, you can also eat a little bit of greens (spinach, celery, cucumber). I will first tell you about bananas and about the Banana Island, before I tell you how I experienced being on Banana Island. I will also tell you what I experienced and if anything changed. So here it goes.. 7 days, 140 bananas!

BANANAS:
Bananas have esseital vitamins and minerals. Let me explain why they are so important:
vitamin B6 – About 4 bananas give you the recommended amount of B6. So you’re good!
manganese – This helps with healing wounds (read: clear skin), healthy bones, activates enzymes (read: great metabolism).
vitamin C – It’s known to boosts your immunity to colds, but it also reduces inflammation and slows the aging of skin (read: clear glowing skin).
copper – It pairs with iron to help stimulate more red blood cells. Red bloods cells carry oxygen through the body (read: lots of energy).
fiber – It prevents heart disease and it’s especially great for a healthy bowel movement.
potassium – A very important one! It helps your muscles and nerves to work properly, it’s great for your metabolism and a healthy balance of fluids in your body. 

REASONS TO GO ON BANANA ISLAND: 
Healing – You’re giving your digestive system a break. As it only has to digest bananas, your system has an easy job to do. This way it uses less energy for digesting. The extra energy can go to other parts of your body.
Energy – For the same reason as described above, you will also experience more overall energy during the day.
Skin – You’re only eating raw and your body gets loaded with lots of important vitamins and minerals. Your skin will benefit a lot. You might notice your skin calms down (in case you have a troubled skin) and/or has an extra nice glow.
Hunger – You will learn the difference between emotional eating and hunger. If you just want to eat because of eating something and the only thing you can eat is bananas, you will less likely eat something. But if you’re really hungry, a banana will do.
Mind – Is quite similar to what I just described. You will be more mindful, because you will feel lighter (thanks to digesting faster), but also very important is that you will fight cravings. You will learns how to handle cravings: You admit you have a craving, you acknowledge it and then hopefully you can move on. This might be a struggle at first.
Weight – It’s very likely that you will loose weight. This will be mostly water weight. If you struggle with water retention, Banana Island will help you. Just note that if you will start eating lots of bad food again after you finished, you will easily gain weight again. To stay on the same weight or even lose more, keep eating healthy and exercise.
Senses – Your taste and smell senses can increase. You can experience better smell and taste. Especially your tastebuds will likely heal/improve.
Sleep – It improves sleep, because your body is able to make the right amount of sleep-hormones: melatonin and serotonin. These hormones are needed for our sleep/wake cycles. They often get disturbed by the things we eat or we do not eat.

SIDE EFFECTS*
Changing your diet and lifestyle can create a situation of temporary withdrawal. As Banana Island is a detox, you might experience side effects, like:
Headaches – A headache is one of the most common side effects of detoxing. It’s mostly a dull and prolonged feeling, but it is because your body is busy removing the buildup of toxins.
Fatigue – As your body is very busy cleansing, a lot of energy is used for only that. The more toxins in your body, the longer this takes. Though, if you eat enough bananas, you shouldn’t feel tired after day 3.
Feeling cold – Also very common, as your body is focusing on getting rid of toxins.
Shaky – Your body wants the bad things you consumed before. By not getting this your blood sugar drops and that is what making you shaky. Just make sure you eat a few extra bananas.
Trouble sleeping – Your body is disturbed by all the changes going on in your body. This might wake you up in the night more often.
Gas/Bloated –You body is getting rid of symptoms in all ways possible. Passing gas is a good sign, it means your intestines are busy clearing everything up. Don’t think it’s not effective if you don’t have this, as long as you have 1 (or more) good bowel movement a day it’s going well.
Cravings – Especially when you were a huge consumer of specific things like: sugar (!), coffee, alcohol and bad fats. You body will ask for there, because it was used to getting this. This side effect is probably the most difficult one. Stay strong!

*You are likely to experience this in the first 1-3 days. Some of the side effects are conflict with improvements. Don’t get discouraged, keep going! Of course if it’s getting really bad (fainting for example), you might want to consider eating a proper meal and maybe even stop all together. It’s very important that you make sure that you eat enough bananas. 

PPREPARATONS
To prepare  myself for Banana Island I did a few things. First, I (obviously) bought a lot of bananas. As I started on a Monday, I got my first batch of bananas on Friday. I got myself 50 bananas, to be sure I had enough for at least 2 days. On Sunday I got my second batch. I did it this way, so they have time to ripe, but not be too ripe.
Something else I did, is having a fruit day the day before (Sunday). This is not necessary, but I did it for 2 reasons. First, I had a lot of fruit I was not able to eat in the 7 coming and I didn’t want it to go bad. Second, I wanted to clear the way, so the effect of the bananas would work faster.

EXPECTATIONS
The reason I wanted to do Banana Island, is because this detox (as many other) is like a reset for your body. A lot of detox programs make you feel hungry, what is ok, but I liked this one because you will not be hungry at all. I especially like this detox because of the mental aspect. The difference you will experience between hunger and emotional eating. I’ve been eating a lot of junk food lately and it didn’t do my body any good. I was looking for ways to get out of that junk food circle, but every time I found myself back in that circle. So this is one of the reasons what made me go to Banana Island. I expect to learn a lot about myself and my body. I also really hope it will clear up my skin a bit. I’ve always had a bad skin since puberty and though it was way worse (before I went vegan), it can improve a lot! Though, my main reason for doing this, is because I’m more and more interested in raw food. This might be a step towards more raw food. I don’t think I will ever go fully raw and I always ate a decent amount of raws anyway, but I think I can do a lot better. I want to be a more healthy vegan. I expect to eat more than 20 bananas and I’m even slightly anxious I will eat an abnormal amount and double that or something.


BANANA JOURNAL

DAY 1 / Bananas: 20
I woke up feeling tired. I had about 7 hours of sleep, but I always have a lot of trouble waking up and getting out of bed. I had my first banana at 7:00 and I ate 7 bananas in total over the morning. At 12:30 I had another 2 bananas, but then I didn’t have any for a while. I had to go out around 15:00 for just a bit and when I came back at 15:30 I was all shaky. Just my arms and hands. I should have eaten a bit more by now I think and it also might be part of the detox effect. I had some more bananas and after an hour I was all back to normal. Still I didn’t seem to eat enough bananas and my stomach started to rumble at 18:00. I did eat 14 bananas by then. In the evening I had a whole organic cucumber, what was so refreshing and tasty. Love how something so simple was so delicious and it’s only day one. I also had 3 bananas with some spinach and water, blended into a smoothie. Was very yummy and a nice change after eating only bananas on its own. I didn’t have any real cravings today, I guess the fist day was quite easy.
Over the whole day I drunk 4 cups of tea and I drunk 2 litres of water.

DAY 2 / Bananas: 20
The second day and I woke up before my alarm (6:15), feeling very well rested. That doesn’t happen a lot. Walking to work I felt very energetic and light, what was a lovely feeling. When I got to work my employer gave me a compliment, that I looked well and energised.. ‘The bananas are doing you good’! It’s only the second day and even people around me see a difference already. Again I ate 7 bananas over the morning. In the afternoon I had a little nap. I didn’t feel tired, but to help my body detoxing and because I had a mild headache. It helped me to have less headache. Being shaky for an hour yesterday and the mild headaches are the only bad side effects I’m having now. Weird enough, having the side effects is kind of exciting, because it means my body is getting rid of toxins. Though, in the end of the afternoon, starting from about 16:00ish, I had a very dry mouth. When I got home around 19:00 I ate an organic cucumber and then the dry mouth was gone. To have the last 5 bananas, I made 2 smoothies with spinach and 1 with celery (I really liked this one). Also had a celery stalk on its own. Very yummy and refreshing. Normally I won’t eat them that often on its own. I like celery, but mostly I put them in my salad. I enjoyed eating it by itself a lot. I really like that about this detox, the appreciation for food. I also drunk almost 2L of water and 3 cups of tea.

DAY 3 / Bananas: 20
I felt less energy than yesterday morning, event hough I did sleep for 7 hours. It might be a side effect, but it could also be because I have to eat a few more bananas a day. I ate 7 bananas over the morning again and around lunchtime my stomach started to rumble. So this is also a sign I should actually eat more. The thing is that I’m not hungry. I eat bananas, but most of the time it’s because I have to at least eat 20 bananas in order to do this detox. What is very positive I think, because normally I’m always ‘hungry’. My body is learning about when I’m really hungry or when I just want to eat for the sake of eating. One of the main reasons I started this detox is because of this mental aspect. I felt very cold today too, overall, but especially my hands.. As this is day 3, the side effect must come to an end by tomorrow. What means I’m very excited about what is going to come next. When I left work (18:00) I only had 13 bananas, what meant I had to at least eat another 7. I decided to blend them, to make it easier. I blend them with some celery and made 1 big glass with a little bit of raw cacao powder too. It was very tasty and felt like such a treat. I divided it over the evening, but I was still very full in the end. I didn’t want to screw up though and make sure my digestive system kept working properly. I also made my boyfriend a burger for dinner, what is my favourite food. Surprisingly, though it was a little hard, I managed doing it and it actually went really well. I didn’t even have huge cravings. I also did really well drinking 3 litres of water, next to my 3 cups of tea. Hydration is very important in a detox!

DAY 4 / Banana: 20
My sleep was very deep, even though I only had 6,5 hours. I felt good in the morning, not highly energised good, but I felt good and content. I can feel I lost some weight, but the best thing is that I feel so happy and light. From around 14:00 today was the first time I was really thinking about having something else than bananas. I wouldn’t say it was a huge craving, but it was different from the other times I thought about different foods. I ate 2 stalks of celery, drunk a cup of tea and I felt better. I think day 4 as the middle day and with the side effects gone (headache free!), your body is changing the focus. I’m surprised I still didn’t have huge cravings, especially because I will have my period next week. Normally in this week (so the week before my period) I’m craving a lot of different things 24/7. I basically alway overeat this week, but thriving on bananas this week, makes me feel a thousand times better. When I got home after work (18:45), I had to eat 5 more bananas to reach 20, so I blended them with a little spinach and 1/4 of iceberg lettuce (I’m quite a fan of blending iceberg lettuce, it gives this little zing to a smoothie). I’m thinking about food quite a lot still. Not in a very annoying, can’t pull myself together kind of way. It’s not a craving for 1 specific thing though. Just I notice that I think about salads a lot. I only think about healthy food though, I have no interest in bad food at all. Again I drunk 3 litres of water today and 3 cups of tea.

DAY 5 / Bananas: 20
As it’s Friday today, I always sleep in a bit. What also means I started to eat later. It was ok though, because for breakfast I put 7 bananas in the blender, with a handful of spinach and water. Drinking this over the morning is a lot easier than eating the bananas on its own. Though my skin still had some breakouts in the last few days, I can see that it’s getting a little better. To be honest, this week (the week before my period) is always a good week for my skin, so I’m not sure if it’s just that or that it’s also thanks to the bananas. I think I have to be more patient to find out. Around 15:00 I thought about other food quite a lot again. To solve this I grabbed half an iceberg lettuce from the fridge and ate it like an apple (what level of vegan is this?!). It really helped and it was so delicious. In the evening I went to watch the movie Beauty&TheBeast (aHmazing btw.. best movie I’ve ever watched in the cinemas!!) and I always get popcorn.. I love popcorn! Today that obviously wasn’t possible, so I prepared a chocolate milkshake what contained 3 bananas and 1 tbs of raw cacao powder and I brought a banana on its own. My boyfriend didn’t easy dinner yet, so before we went to the cinema he quickly ate a pizza. He sat in front of me, eating one of my favourite foods. He wasn’t being mean btw, I told him to just eat. Nobody should change around me just because I decided I only want to eat bananas. As there was dairy cheese on the pizza I didn’t crave it at all. Though I think, even though the pizza smelled delicious, if it was vegan, I would still be ok. I feel very satisfied eating bananas. I’m very surprised I’m so ok with all this delicious food around me. Today, after the movie was finished I ate banana number 100! Was kind of a funny thought, knowing I ate 100 bananas in 5 days. I also drunk 2,5 litres of water and only 2 cups of tea.

DAY 6 / Bananas: 20
I was sleeping in until around 9:30 and didn’t start breakfast until 11:00. What wasn’t very clever as that means I have less time to eat 20 bananas. So I blended up 5 bananas with a handful of spinach and a glass of water and drunk it straight. Me and my boyfriend went to Portobello Road Market, but before we left I ate 3 bananas so I’ll not get hungry and tempted but all the yummy food there. We normally get a falafel wrap and eat it at Starbucks, but this time I didn’t get one, but only had a green tea. I was ok with it, though it’s a lot nicer if you can eat together. Eating 20 bananas while starting so late was easier than I thought. Because I was very hungry coming back from Portobello Market, so I blended 6 bananas with some celery and really enjoyed that. In the evening I was kind of craving a meal, so I ate quite a lot of celery and cucumber. Especially the combination of them both was very enjoyable. I can feel how my tastebuds are more sensitive as I could taste how salty the celery was in comparison with the fresh cucumber. Later in the evening I had serious cravings, to something savoury and saucy, like a proper meal. This is the first time I have cravings, maybe because I know it’s only 1 more day. I acknowledge that it was just a craving and created a healthy raw recipe I’ll enjoy on Monday. I also drunk a cup of tea and went to bed a little earlier than I planned to. I had only 2 cups of tea again today, but I did drink 2 litres of water.

DAY 7 / Bananas: 20
I woke up at 9:00 today, what meant that it was already 10:00, as last night the clock moved forward one hour. I slept very long and deep, 9 hours. I only woke up once at 6:00. So I started to eat my bananas a little later again. I guess that is what happens in the weekend. I made myself a banana/spinach smoothie and I got ready for the farmers market. It was lovely to see all the yummy colourful vegetables, it always makes me happy. Though I knew I had to wait for a salad until tomorrow. Later on in the Sainsbury’s, to get the rest of my groceries, it was also a little hard. I love grocery shopping, but everything what I bought was for the following week. I didn’t have huge cravings though, I’m just looking forward to a proper meal again. I made myself another big smoothie with bananas and celery (the one I bought at the farmers market), after eating 3 bananas on its own.
Though I did have bowel movements every day, today was the first time I had big bowel movements. I’m not sure why, but it’s a good sign. Tomorrow my body will be all ready to receive lovely fresh salads. I turned the last few bananas into a raw cacao soft serve. It was delicious. And swallowing that last bite, meant I ate 140 bananas in 7 days. Yesterday and today I was a bit bloated. My intestines must be working really hard to get a lot of toxins and waste out of my body. I’m wondering how it goes when I start to eat other things from tomorrow. I only had 1 cup of tea today, but I did drink 2 litres of water.


DAY 8
So this morning on the scale, it turned out I lost 1,5 kg this week. Quite good isn’t it? I could already feel it during the week, but what means a lot more to me is that I feel so light and have so much energy. I started the day with a big glass of luke warm water, with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. This is how I start my day every morning, also when I was on Banana Island. I did some yoga and it went really well, it made me feel so good. Then I made myself a green smoothie with, guess what.. bananas! This shows you how much I love bananas. I did make the smoothie like I normally make it though, so not only with spinach and water. Yesterday I bought myself a little ripe papaya, to eat as the first thing after all these bananas. It was delicious. I love papayas! Then I also ate a very juicy and sweet tangerine. So enjoyable. At work I had some strawberries and then waited all the way until lunchtime. The moment I’ve been waiting for. I had a huge raw salad with spinach, chard, radish greens, radishes, baby corns, sugar snaps, avocado, ground coriander, smoked paprika and a little sesame seed oil. It was soo nice! I really love salads. Very satisfying after 7 days. Then in the afternoon I snacked on some blueberries, 1 apple and 2 pears. At dinner time I was really hungry and made myself some courgetti. I used a whole big courgette and I made very yummy raw sauce from: fresh tomatoes, bell pepper, mushrooms, fresh basil, celery, salt, thyme and a little ground coriander. It was very delicious! There was some sauce left, so in the evening, whilst watching my favourite show ‘The Big Bang Theory’, I cut up a cucumber and started dipping. Yumm! Going to make this more often. I also drunk over 2 litres of water again and 3 cups of tea. What a successful day! In the next few days I will keep eating more raw foods, but I will also introduce my body again to some cooked foods, like: beans, sweet potatoes and porridge. 

CONCLUSION
Thinking I would eat more than 20 bananas and even feeling anxious about eating double that amount, was quite an hilarious expectation, looking at the fact that I struggled to even eat 20 in the end of every day.
Now one of the questions I was asked most during this week on Banana Island was definitely: ‘Do/Will you still like bananas?’. Yes I do! I love bananas! I enjoyed eating bananas a lot and I’m still enjoying them now. I think bananas are just perfect food. They have so much goodness inside of them, they’re so tasty and you can make amazing food combinations with them. They’re really my personal Super Food!
So overall I found it a very nice experience and it helped me a lot with looking at food in a more healthy way. For all these reasons, I would definitely do it again. Maybe in the summer.. I hope more people will join me then!

DAY 14 / Back to normal
So last week I ate very healthy, apart from a little chocolate here and there (sorry, I’m allowed when on my period, hehe..). This morning I was the same weight as I was after Banana Island. I think if I wasn’t on my period, I would have lost a little weight maybe. It’s still a good sign, because it means that the weight I lost on Banana Island is still off. I can also see that my skin is better. It’s smoother and I have less break outs. Even though I was on my period, I didn’t have huge cravings. Normally I have cravings 24/7 and I can eat a lot, especially the week before and I’m hungry the whole time, but I felt so much better.
The day after Banana Island I had a raw day as you can read in DAY 8. I did this to slowly introduce my body to different food again. The day after that I introduced beans and the day after that, I had some porridge for breakfast. Though from about that day, my stomach was getting really upset. I was very bloated and my tummy (from my stomach to my lower intestines) was painful all day. I think that I ate something (maybe a vegetable) that was bad and I didn’t notice. Or maybe it was becuase introducing all these foods again, but I don’t this was the reason. I kept eating healthy and normal, but only from today I actually feel better. I don’t want you to be discouraged from trying Banana Island, because I think it was because I ate something wrong. I still have a lot of energy and overall I feel very good. I feel so much better than before I started Banana Island. It really helped me to get back on track. This week I will exercise more and get properly fit again. The lovely sun coming out more often, is really helping me with that!

Would you like to go to Banana Island too after reading this? You should! It was a very nice experience and I would (and will) do it again! If you have questions or you need some encouragement, don’t hesitate to CONTACT me! You can also do that in a comment below or via Instgram! Thank you! X

The Miracle Morning

img_6995Last year I discovered the book called, ‘The Miracle Morning. I discovered it via a Dutch blog I follow, called ‘De Groene Meisjes’. One of my favourite Dutch blogs to follow. Merel, the writer of ‘De Groene Meisjes’ was talking about ‘The Miracle Morning’ a lot and I checked it out as I really need a miracle every morning. My whole life I’ve struggled to get up from my bed. It’s one of my biggest struggles in life I must say. I always wake up exhausted and I don’t care about all my good intentions I set the day before. I do love getting up early and start my day fresh and be productive. I can’t (or actually I just don’t) force myself out of bed, I will easily stay in bed until 10:00 or longer. I feel good when I wake up then, without an alarm. Naturally though, I always wake up around 8:30. I don’t know why that is, but mostly I wake up rested around that time. I can just easily go back to sleep too. I have no trouble sleeping at alllll.. haha! This sleeping until the morning is almost or sometimes even finished completely (oops!) is something what obviously happens on my days off. For work or other appointments I’m always on time. So why can’t I be on time for ‘an appointment with myself’?

mmI read ‘The Miracle Morning’ within 3 days. I was fascinated by it and very inspired. I love this book! It’s about a system to get you out of bed and to start your day fresh, with good intentions and to be more productive. Sounds great, isn’t it? First of all it gives you a solution to get out of bed and to wake up properly. A ‘Snooze-proof wake up strategy’. I so need that, I’m a snooze-Queen fore sure.. haha! Then, when you have woken up, you will use S.A.V.E.R.S: silence, affirmations, visualisation, exercise, reading, scribing. It works really well and you can actually make these steps as long or short as you want. Or leave some out, in case something is really not your thing. Though I’d encourage to at least try all the steps for the first 2 weeks.

I did start my miracle mornings straight away, on my second day of reading. I read the last part of the book, in the morning at ‘reading time’. I must say it’s a good system and the best part is, you can fill it in the way you want. You can fill it in, the way it works for you. I did that and I did ‘The Miracle Morning’ for a few weeks, 6 days a week. I really liked it, but then when I went to Holland I got a bit more easy-going and kind of lost track. Nowadays I still do it, but on occasion. If I’m very busy and I need to have a lot done for example. That feels good! I learned a lot from it and I’m very happy that I discovered this book.

Do you also always struggle to wake up and  get out of bed and especially when you have a day off? Did you read The Miracle Morning already? Or are you planning to after reading this post? Please let me know in the comments or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Happiness and Self Acceptance

We live in a society where it’s very important to be accepted by everybody. Not only accepted, people want to be better than other people. This, I think, is mainly created by social media. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media, otherwise I wouldn’t be a blogger. It’s just that I see a lot of obsessing over things that don’t seem important in daily life. For example: having the perfect body, gadgets or having a crazy busy social life. Does being thin really make you happy? Does that new phone really make you happy? ..and who are your real friends?

14037802_1213183238725777_1913738389_oFAKE HAPPINESS
A big thing nowadays is ‘finding happiness’. Everybody seems to be on a journey to find true happiness. They travel to the other side of the world to go to tropical holiday resorts, treat themselves to expensive massages, buy stuff, make more friends and then they post all these things on Instagram to show others how happy they are. But are you? Really? It’s great if you can do this all and at the same time you’re truly happy. But if you are, you also know that the things I just mentioned is not what is making you happy. Of course you’re happy going on holiday and of course buying something makes you happy. Only that is not the happy I’m talking about. I’m talking about being happy in the now. Are you happy with yourself? Are you doing the things you want? Are you living the life you imagined? Because owning that just released new phone, doesn’t change the fact you’re going to your work every day feeling reluctant and stressed. Having tons of friends doesn’t make you love your body and going on expensive holidays don’t make your responsibilities magically disappear.

htTHE RIGHT WAY OF BEING HAPPY
Then what is the right way of being happy? Nobody can hand you a ticket of happiness. There is no manual for ‘being happy’. It has to come from you. Only you can make yourself happy. There are no external factors involved. I think it all starts with the question: ‘Who are you?!’. Do you know who you are and are you exactly that person? One simple question, but mostly very complicated to come up with the answer. Because this simple question means you have to ask yourself a lot of other question and you have to be able to answer them. If the answers don’t match with reality, it makes you unhappy. It means you’re not staying close to who you are and from what you want in life.

QUESTIONS
What kind of questions? I’ll give you some examples:
-How do I like to feel?
-Am I happy to look at myself in the mirror?
-What would be my dream job?
-Do I have goals and do I reach my goals?

img_5749ANSWERS
Now you want to answer those questions and compare them with reality.
-Are you feeling the way you like to feel most of the time?
-Can you look at yourself in the mirror and smile with confidence, without feeling devastated about not having a thigh gab or because you can see your bones sticking out?
-Are you happily going to work because you love what you do?
-Do you have something to work on and look forward to? ..and can you look back and be proud of yourself looking at all the things you’ve accomplished in your life already?

SELF ACCEPTANCE 
When you can answer those questions and your answers honestly match with reality, you can accept yourself. Being happy with yourself brings happiness. Then it doesn’t matter what others think of you, because you are who you are. Nobody can tell you you’re wrong, because this is who you are.

img_1080HAPPINESS HIGH
Happiness doesn’t mean that you’re always feeling high of happiness. There will be highlights in your life, what gives you this euphoric feeling. These are great and you should use the energy you get from it, to motivate yourself. Or you can use them if you have a bad moment. Because of course you will still have bad moments. Nobody can be happy 24/7. Things happen. But being happy with yourself means you can handle these things a lot better. You can see them more clear and put them in perspective. It’s all about being stable and feeling grounded, even though something awful is happening.

Of course there is a lot more to happiness, but I think it starts with knowing who you are and by accepting yourself. At the moment I’m working on an ultimate Happiness-Lifestyle. To help people finding themselves and for them to feel happy. Does this sound like something you might be interested in? Stay tuned! To keep you up to date, register yourself on the bottom of my website. This way you’ll never miss a post or an update.

Are you happy the way you live your life? Do you know who you truly are? Or are there some things you want to work on? I hope this article pushed you in the right direction. If you have any questions or if you want to say something about this, please leave a comment below or contact me via CONTACT. You can also get in touch via Instagram. Thank you! X

 

 

 

One Day

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 00.46.57One day I was, in my opinion, in front of the most beautiful building of Paris: the Sacre Coeur. I was enjoying the last sun rays of this amazing city, as I was omw to the train station to go back home. Paris is the city of love and I can’t agree more as this poem came to me whilst sitting there on the stairs, after having lovely, inspirational days. Nothing inspires me more than going to unfamiliar places by myself. So even though I was completely alone (with another 4574087502 tourists) this poem of love, desire and attraction came to me, right there.

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 00.48.12Before reading it, I have to tell you that this isn’t just a normal poem. You can read it in 2 ways. You can just read it from top to bottom, probably making you feel curious and maybe even confused, but hopefully inspired. It’ll all make more sense though, if you read only the first sentences of all the verses. Then after you read only the second sentences of the verses and last but not least, all the third sentences of all the verses. Give it a go..

ONE DAY

I hope you will see me.
I hope you will miss me.
I hope you are craving.

See me and desire me.
Miss me when you’re alone.
Craving to touch my lips.

Desire me like nothing else.
Alone or with somebody.
My lips is all you need.

Nothing else will fulfil you.
Somebody or a crowd.
Need them like you need to breathe.

Fulfil you with passion.
A crowd or whoever in this world.
Breathe like you want to taste me.

Passion to cherish.
In this world with only me.
Taste me like you’re hungry.

Cherish my love for you.
Only me to fulfil your dreams.
Hungry like you’re starving.

For you to hold me.
Dreams you want to live.
Starving without me.

Hold me to protect me.
Live so you don’t feel empty.
Without me you’re lost.

Protect me one day.
Empty I felt before.
Lost I’ll be without you.

Did you like my poem? Are you writing (similar) poems? Please let me know in the comments or send me a message via contacts. Thank you! X

Fly Again

wings2This is quite a personal post, as I wrote this poem after I went through a very difficult time. It was very hard being in the middle of it and to eventually find myself again, but I got back stronger than ever. It taught me that you have to be thankful for everything what happens in your life. Positive or negative.
Sometimes there are situations that will build you up just by itself, but sometimes things happen to teach you a lesson and you have to start building yourself. This isn’t bad, this is to reinvent yourself and become the person you know you are. This will give you so much strength for the rest of your life.

One day this poem came to me, just like that, the only thing I had to do is write it down. I did, and things fell into place.

Fly Again

My wings were once broken and teared apart,
burnt with words which reached into my heart.
Not being sure if anything of me was still there,
I slipped away and sunk so deep, so hard to bare.
Could I ever spread them out again without a fall?
It was black so dark and all I felt was one big wall.

But I grope and searched and I found a way,
up high I climbed and the black turned grey.
I fell, I struggled, but I fought for every feeling,
every step was tough, but brought me healing.
Because I faced the feelings that I feared,
it made me climb higher until they all appeared.

I gave them space, smiled and collected them all,
only for love I kept bumping into that same wall.
I worried, felt anxious, desperate and scared,
trying to find it, but in the distance I stared.
No light, no sparks, no grey, only dark, just black,
I didn’t believe I was ever going to find it back.

But one day it just turned up, flying around my ladder,
too far to reach, but close enough to feel it flutter.
I can keep climbing, but soon I’ll reach the top,
realising that for love I have to jump and risk to drop.
I’m longing on the edge, knowing what I want to get,
just not sure if I can trust those delicate wings just yet.

But I want to jump, I want to touch it, for that I long,
because I can’t truly live with fear of what can go wrong.
I want to sing, and dance in the rain without a coat,
so I’ll jump to freedom, but first I’ll gently float.
At least now I feel calm and I’m sure that one day I can,
spread them wide to fully fly with my new wings again.

wings3Did you like my poem? Did you maybe go through a similar struggle? Or do you have any questions.. please leave a comment or if you want, you can always send me a personal message! Thank you! X

Energy introduces you before you speak

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 20.08.08A lovely free Saturday in front of me and I decided to go to one of my favourite places in London: PortobelloRoad. I’m actually there already a few times a week, but I don’t care. I was just gonna get a falafel wrap and a Starbucks and go home. When I was there I thought it would be nice to eat the wrap at Starbucks and just see the people walking by, doing there thing. I love that. I was lucky enough to sit in my favourite spot. In the corner, in front of the window. At first there were 2 girls sitting next to me and then an older couple with the cutest little Dachshund. They left and a man, not very tall, took their place. I noticed him straight away. I could tell I like him without even looking in his eyes. He was wearing simple dark clothes and carried a backpack. Little grey curls were coming from under his black hat, where very likely dreadlocks were hidden. I think he was around 60 years old, but apart from a few wrinkles around his eyes, his skin was smooth and glowing. He looked healthy. It was something I really noticed straight away.

It was nice to sit next to him, I felt some sort of connection with him. He drunk his beverage and he ate a cupcake I recognised from the Portobello Wholefoods shop. Just before he wanted to leave he looked at me with friendly eyes and said: ‘So I’m good now’ and he referred to his empty cup. I reacted with: ‘Oh good, I hope you enjoyed it, what did you have?’. He had tea he said and this is how we started to talk. First about tea and then about healthy food and lifestyle. It turned out he ate 90% raw, after he did a full year of being completely raw. And he ate everything organic. We talked about the benefits of all our favourite fruits and vegetables, about herbs and spices and he knew so much. And it was all from experience as he lived this healthy lifestyle for over 15 years.

He was telling me about his family. That he is the only one of his big family who lived in London. His father lived, together with some of his siblings, in Trinidad, where he was from. He had more siblings living in Canada, where also his mum is based. His parents were both a hundred years old and still very healthy and energetic. He traveled a lot to see them and also he went to Dubai a few times already for the Formula 1. Not something I would of guessed he was interested in.

We had a good laugh as well and talked some more about what made us happy. What makes us natural high?! For me that is animals, nature, rain, love and kind people. He loved to be out and about in the crowd and he always hoped to bump into somebody he didn’t see in years. When he told me that his eyes were lighting up. It was obvious that exactly that gave him a lot of joy. It’s those little simple things what makes life beautiful. We concluded we love life.
12823067_1108888172488618_1210054980_oHe then admitted he chose this seat as he felt comfortable sitting next to me and that he wanted to say something to me from the start. He just wasn’t sure if I was up to it as I was sitting all by myself and he thought I was maybe waiting for somebody. But he couldn’t leave without saying anything and that’s why he decided to say something before he wanted to leave. I was so amazed by him telling me this, as I felt the same the whole time.

Almost 2 hours later we got up and went outside. It was just starting to get dark and there was a little drizzle. We had to go opposites ways, so I gave him a hug and he said he hoped we’ll bump into each other again one day. I walked away and I felt the drizzle on my face.

I absolutely love moments like this. This is exactly what gives me my natural high. When I walked into the already silent part of PortobelloRoad there was a man sitting on the pavement, hanging on the wall. He was actually sitting in an awkward, uncomfortable position, but he was playing the saxophone and though I’m normally not a huge fan of the instrument, he was playing this amazing piece of music. The tune was going straight through my body. And that was it. The inspiring conversation, dusk, drizzle and music.. I felt euphoric! This for me, is happiness. I gave the musician a few coins as a sign of gratitude. I truly believe this all wasn’t a coincidence, but a day given by life itself. Great timing, great circumstances. A masterpiece!