Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Veganism - 1 year later!

One year ago, I made an impulsive and quick decision to give up my consumption of animal products (dairy, eggs, meat fish...) from that day onward! Now, a year after that decision, here is an honest update on my one year's experience of veganism and how it has been.

Firstly, yes I am alive (of course I am) - I say this because the amount of comments I get from people I meet, about how it is going to kill me or questions asking me 'how do I liveee?!?!', is off the scale. I have had no health problems regarding nutrition in the last year and I have learnt more about food than ever before from trial and error, researching to check I'm doing this right, and just from the outcome of my well-being. 

Am I still going to continue being vegan?
Yessss !
Most probably for the rest of my life!
I am still increasingly becoming more and more interested in a compassionate way of living, in terms of animal welfare, and my contribution to environmental problems is still a value of mine which also continues to develop. Especially in a position where I have the privilege of an abundance of food to choose from, I feel responsible to choose the ones which won't have such hugely negative impacts on others and the world. 


"Have you broken your veganism?!" 
I get this question a lot too.  It is mostly asked by non-vegans with a proud little look on their grimacing face. Personally I don't really believe you can "break your veganism" however I do, of course, get where this question is going... My honest answer is technically a yes in the sense that I have accidentally consumed something containing dairy or eggs multiple times. These little 'mistakes' are just something which I have learnt from and which remind me to check packaging more thoroughly or ask more questions and do more research. Most vegans are bound to have these situations, and my advice is to just take it as a learning experience and move on.
My second answer to this question is going to be very honest in the sense that I have had one situation in which I did start eating something, knowing it contained dairy. Hear me out. On this day, about 7 months ago, I accidentally purchased something containing dairy, I had no idea that it contained dairy. I then cooked the product and put it in a bowl, before binning the packaging I saw in bold "CHEESE" on the ingredients. It was that heart sinking moment where I didn't know whether it was worth wasting the food by binning it too or whether I should just eat it seeing as the supply and demand part had happened already... I ate two mouthfuls and then the guilt rose so I binned the rest. It was one of those situations where you are just torn and either way I would have either been being wasteful or going against my morals. It was on my mind for a few days but I just eventually took it in my stride and reminded myself to never ever buy something without thoroughly checking the packaging ever again. hahah.

Some people would say "that means you have only been vegan for 7 months then!! hahaha!!", bearing in mind most of the people jeering at me with this comment are likely to be non-vegans themselves haha. But like I said, my morals on that day remained the same and it has only made them stronger. I also wouldn't do that again.I am also not taking on this lifestyle so I can count the years and prove it to someone. The only reason I am marking this as a year is so I can share my year's experience to help others and inspire! Other than that, there is little pride involved in accomplishing something so humane so counting the years isn't a huge deal to me :)


Do you feel physically different?
Yes! Not drastically, but yes, certainly...
My hair and nails feel so so much stronger
I don't have crazy amazing energy levels but I do feel generally a lot more energetic than I used to
I rarely get headaches now ( I used to get them very regularly )
My eczema has been drastically better
My skin (on my face) has been more glowy and a little less spotty. It hasn't been totally spot free (probably due to the fact I am still a teenager aaand I still eat a little more refined sugar/ salt than need be) however it has definetly been a lot better and heals much quicker from spots etc than it used to!

Remember though, not everything that is vegan is healthy, whilst you are likely to get much healthier from a vegan diet (it is even said to be the best natural diet for us) you still have to do it properly and, just like any lifestyle, doesn't generalise or confirm good health. If you wanna be especially healthy, I recommend cutting down hugely on refined sugar and salt as well as eating plenty of raw fruit and veg as well as nutrient meals. Especially if you are transitioning from eating dairy, eggs, fish and meat, your body will need time to adjust and you need to learn where to get all of your nutrients from as you will no longer be depending on meat for protein etc... Of course, if done properly, you will most likely get a lot healthier.



Has it been hard? Is it easy now?
As I said, I am in a very lucky, privilaged position, where I have an abundance of food, so it was never super hard. However it has certainly gotten easier, less awkward and I have definitely fully adjusted. There were some times at the begining where I felt a bit tested or challenged but it was also sort of easy because I was sooo passionate about these new morals which I had dug deep out of my conscience. With this passion, I developed motivation and also became much more interested and better at cooking which made it exciting as I was trying amazing new recipes, experimenting with food and enjoying the new lifestyle. It is pretty simple now and the main little 'challenges' are mostly socially (in restaurants or shops, or with a group of non-vegans etc) and making sure I check and ask about ingredients more.



It is going so great now and I feel like the first year has given me sooo many new experiences with seeing the true side of a lot of judgey people, trying amazing new food, learning tonnes, and enriching my humane qualities which I failed to open up before...

Who knows how many people will even read this but, if you want to leave a comment or request, please do! I would love to answer any questions on my experience with veganism and I would love ideas for more posts on this topic in future! 
Let me know, and thanks for reading xox 




Thursday, 26 January 2017

A one-day-journal: a creative and politically fueled morning



On Saturday the 21st of January, myself and some friends went on the Women's March London...

An early morning, coffee, a makeshift and super quick breakfast

Before running out of the door, I grabbed my backpack, stuffing it with paintbrushes, headphones, iPod, a book, glitter gel pens, food and a handful of coins in a small Japanese purse.

A long bus ride across the borough, a short walk and then an arrival at my friend's house.

The morning was filled with painting, more coffee and photo taking. We made three big banners for the march we were going to spend our day on. Pink and white paint, glitter glue and cardboard lay across the newspaper coated floor.

I really recommend making banners if you are going on a march or any sort of protest. Not only is it more effective for the cause, but it is also encouraging and gets you to participate more.

The messages on our banners:

Mine:

"Our bodies
Our minds
Our power"

Aaliya's:

"Girls just wanna have fun-damental human rights"

Sarah's:

"Evil succeeds when good people do nothing"

"We are the future"


Amy's:

"Fight like a girl!"

My banner was the one with the female gender symbol on one side and "our bodies, our minds, our power" on the other side.



Soon we dried the remaining wet paint with a hairdryer and left our coffee rings and the warmth of indoors for a train ride.
Banners squeezed into a busy train, people looked and asked, some took a photo and smiled.













Sarah and Aaliya




The majority of the march was reaching Trafalgar square, ready for the talks and rally, by the time we actually joined the procession. We made it just in time to get into the hugeee crowd, making it near to the front. On our way down the steps into the square, we were swarmed by photographers, camera-men and women and other protesters, flashes and lenses snapping and clicking (I later spotted our banners in the crowd on the ITV and BBC news and in a few people's photos on social media  yay) It was pretty amazing and overwhelming but we soon made it into the square, arms aching but still held strong and high.






We were there to protest AGAINST Trump and FOR women's rights and equality.
Apparently the crowd of protesters in London reached 100,000 and London came to a standstill as it got so busy. whoohoo!
Sarah's banner  speaks the truth!^
Remember, this is not the end of standing up, there is so much more to do, so many more protests to attend and so much to be sorted! Keep going!
Hope you enjoyed this little one-day-journal idea, I would love to do more from any other special, exciting, memorable or interesting days.

Did you go on one of the women's marches? If so, whereabouts in the world was the one you went on?

xox



Sunday, 15 January 2017

possibly the best resolution to pick this year...

So, for some of us, we know we want change, due to the weird dissatisfaction of our current state of mind or the bore of daily life, however we don't always manage to pick out what we actually need to change so here is just one idea. By no means are there not equally important things you could choose but this is the one I urge you to try as it has been an amazing part of my life for 9 months now and I want to share why it is perfect for those of you who either want to do something political and active this year, want to get healthy, or want a better state of mind. If you want to get involved with more activism, health or mindfulness, you have fallen into the perfect place! Here is a mind opening, and controversial beginning to your year...

1.
For all of you who want to make a difference to more than yourself this year...


 Go dairy free, vegetarian and eventually vegan! 
Going vegan reduces your carbon footprint and saves a huge number of lives! Veganism is a political statement, movement and choice. Just like feminism, it is judged, misunderstood and discarded by many... You don't have to be one of those people.
Take it one step at a time if you need to, cut out dairy first because once that is out, it will be so much easier. Dairy is addictive, bad for you and bad for the environment, not forgetting animal welfare. If you need to strengthen your mind for this and remind yourself why you are doing this, you can watch videos such as this one (only five minutes long!) or watch Stella Rae (who also has amazing podcasts), Annie Tarasova and Sonia Elsie (amazing vegan YouTubers who can teach you a lot). I also have lots of posts with tips and my experience. I think veganism is a form of activism which you can of course go out and protest about, post about and tell people about, but one of the best ways to actually just begin your journey as a activist (if that is your thing) is just through what you eat. If someone offers you a chocolate, you can politely say no, if you are out and want to buy a sandwich, see if there are any vegan options or make your own, if you are cooking dinner yourself, make it vegan. Protest from your plate! 

2.
for those of you who are ready to try a diet which isn't a temporary "diet" where you can eat as much as you like and end up healthier (*if you do it right of course!)

Veganism again!
 Going vegan will benefit you and your body so much if you do it right. Your meals don't have to resemble a super-food blogger's to be healthy and vegan. Cutting out animal products can do wonders. There are a lot of myths about how veganism makes you unhealthy and how you need a million types of supplements to survive. Of course a healthy lifestyle does require money but if you are going to do it in a simple and healthy way then you actually don't need to spend more than a meat eater would... after all are vegetables and beans not cheaper than meat and fish? Health is not the reason I have personally gone vegan and is not the most easy way to go vegan but it is a great reason if that is what it takes for you. If you can connect with the other values of veganism such as compassion for animals and the planet, it will make it easier for you as it will remind you why what you are doing is great until you actually see the results. Just make sure you get a good balance of beans, greens, veg, fruit and carbs etc. 
If you are going vegan, do NOT restrict carbohydrates. It's so unnecessary and they really are not the terrible food group that people make them out to be.There is some myth that carbs make you fat but they actually don't if the rest of your diet isn't too fatty and you are eating healthily anyway. Going vegan can be healthier than an average way of eating, if done properly, as it tends to include less saturated fats, you get your calcium and protein from faster digesting and more nutrient sources and your digestive system will adjust and thank you for this change as meats and dairy are slow digesting and can sit in the gut for longgg. Remember, you CAN access all of the food groups through a plant based (vegan) lifestyle. 
Just like any other way of eating, just make sure you get enough of everything and you will be good to go. And remember, when going vegan you will need to eat slightly bigger portions as veg doesn't fill you up as much as animal products, but bigger portions of healthier food won't suddenly "fatten you up" tonnes or anything as it will digest quickly and won't contain as much saturated fat etc.
There are tonnes of amazing vegan websites which tell you how much of everything you need if you are nervous about getting all the protein etc in. But my best advice is do a bit of research but mostly listen to your body! And of course you can ask any questions in the comments of my veganism posts in the comments of my "food and veganism" page if you want help from someone of a bit of experience.

3.
Open up that mind of yours, get in touch with some of the most natural and humane things you could be doing!
Here we are again. Another, and possibly one of the best, reasons to go vegan...

Yes, I believe going vegan has helped my mental health and can help yours too. When  you look into the animal side of it, it enables you to teach yourself a type of compassion that you can apply to other people. Also, a not so fun fact, apparently when you digest a slaughtered animal (meat) you are also digesting a type of chemical which animals produce when in fear (they release it when stressed and scared therefore releasing it when being killed) and this chemical can be passed onto you when you consume them, therefore giving you more anxiety. Also, eating animals and animal products makes you fragment animals into a concept of body parts which we call meat or into dairy products which we end up thinking is for us (remember that cows only produce milk after having a baby... that milk is therefore for their baby... you wouldn't drink someone's breast milk would you?) and detaches you from seeing them as sentient beings and teaches you that it is ok to see yourself as better than them, affecting other areas of your life and making you feel superior to other people etc. 
Even if you don't think you are better than animals, your subconscious brain will, until you make this connections, and I can't blame anyone because this is how most of us were brought up. But now you are older, or when you are older, you can take this into you hands and it will be time to consider whether or not you want to make this connection. Just like women are objectified by men, we objectify animals as food (not saying veganism is more important than feminism, but it is just another connection which it helps to make as it is the same process: fragmentation).

Veganism is more than just a new year's resolution but this is the perfect time to start whilst your mind is fresh and ready for a new challenge ! 

So, with all that in mind, would you like to go vegan, vegetarian or dairy free? Or maybe you would just like to make more conscious choices every once in a while? Feel free to let me know in the comments... 

Just a disclaimer, I totally respect everyone's right to having their own opinion of what they eat so this is just mine and I just wanted to share it with those who care, have the opportunity and privilege to and who want to open up their mind. I know the world can't go vegan (at least not right now) but, if the people who can afford to (which it is easier to afford than most people think) can do it then you will be helping tackle a global issue and you will be helping yourself. If you can go vegan, I totally urge you to consider it, it's not a sacrifice, it is merely getting in touch with the humane parts of your brain, connecting with nature and changing things for the better. It is a practice of non-violence most of all and I have learnt stuff from it which I can apply to human situations too. Go for it, it's great! <3


Big love to you all, and I hope this inspires at least one person because yes, one person does make a difference xox

What is your new year's resolution?





Thursday, 29 December 2016

how to stick to your new year's resolutions !

My friend recently told me that she has noticed, over the last year especially, that I have become really good at sticking to things. I think still have a lot to work on, just like anybody else, but I can definitely agree that I made some changes over the last year which required a quantity of willpower. I am proud that I have stuck to them and it does feel good that other people can see that I have taken control of my own desire for change. So, here is a little guide from me to you about how to actually stick to your new year's resolutions and also how to just keep up positive changes in general...
photo creds to Zoe


First, I'll tell you about some of the big things I have changed this year, these weren't even resolutions but they were what I realised I wanted - and they happened. I will then go onto my little guide and tips.

I don't think I ever really talk about anxiety on here but, if you didn't know, I live with anxiety disorder and, although there is so much more I have to work on, in the last year I definitely began to overcome some of the massive things it affected. The other thing which I feel very accomplished with is being vegan. I went vegan in early may and have not intentionally consumed any animal products since.
Of course, these two thing I achieved aren't things which apply to everyone or that everyone wants to achieve in the near future but they are definitely two things which affect my whole life style so I thought they were good examples of willpower and achievement.

How can you stick to your desire for change?

1. Get out of your comfort zone. This one is difficult in itself but so worth it. Try, very slowly and little by little, to do things which make you a little less comfortable than usual. By this I don't mean random things which scare you, all I mean is if there is something which will benefit your desire for happiness or a goal, try it safely and in tiny steps. I was really reluctant with this one (I mean why would you want to do something you don't want to do?) but as soon as I realised you could do it slowly and in much less daunting ways, it became obvious that it was working.

2. Plan it properly. Write down exactly what you want to achieve, how you plan to go about it and how you will benefit from it when you have achieved this.
This helps to actually work out if this is the exact desire as well as working out how achievable it will be. Stick it in your journal, on your wall or write it in the notes. Make sure you keep reminding yourself of it.
Here is a little plan I have put together. It's really simple.



3. The Law of Attraction. I am probably not the best person to explain this technique as I haven't put it to much use yet however it is meant to be one of the best ways of manifesting your goals. Some of my the basics I have learnt from it suggest imagining how you will or would feel if you had what you currently desired. This, not only helps with the process, but really really helps (and has helped me) to work out if the thing you 'want' is really what you want.

4. I hate to say it but, patience. Especially with anxiety, learning that it can take time to achieve something, is crucial. This doesn't mean waiting around, hoping stuff will change. This means taking action to do what you want to do, but not rushing it. Absorb every part of the process, the struggle and the relief. Learn from every aspect of the way you go about things. Understand that the bad times are part of the learning process and, if you know this already, find ways to make the coping a little more comfortable.



Extra ways to better your mindset for these challenges:

Travelling - this doesn't mean going abroad at all, or even leaving your own city. All I mean when I recommend travelling is that you change your scene every once in a while, spend a day, a week or even a month somewhere else.
Experiencing you own self in different settings can be surprisingly interesting. Again, it is great to document your trips, journeys and encounters to work out if you seemed different, better, worse or challenged in these circumstances.



Enjoying your own company - I, along with the majority of people, am still learning this one. It is hard but so important to learn how to enjoy doing things alone and not constantly depending on others' company. It is important to be around people lots too but I think you have got to spend some time alone, doing things you enjoy or which benefit you, to really relax and get to know yourself.

Stop obsessing over productivity - Firstly, we all have our own definitions of what is and what isn't productive. I personally find that always wanting to meet other people's (eg. parents, teachers) expectations of productivity can get unhealthy. Whilst taking other people's advice is great, there should be more slack cut for sometimes just chilling out and doing something you enjoy because you simply enjoy it. It is something worth making time for and benefiting your own happiness without stress or instructions should certainly be deemed productive in my opinion anyway.





I hope this little guide helps and wasn't too cliche or "heard it all before". I believe and hope that you achieve what you want this year! Remember to work out if what you want really is what you want though, if you haven't then it will be hard to achieve it! I am tempted to do a full "anxiety experience/ update" post but it is quite a scary and brave thing to do so I might not unless it is requested. Would you like to see that?

Don't forget to check out my upcoming post with ideas for new year's resolutions!

Happy New Year xox


Saturday, 24 December 2016

Recent Faves!

The last few months have been so, so busy. I have been cosied up inside with hot coconut cacao and boring coursework, I've taken a trip to Edinburgh and performed in a play, I've huddled in fluffy coats at a firework display and I have planned so many creative ideas and projects which I need to gain the motivation to begin. 
Here are some of my favourite things recently which have just about got me through the months of November and December...

My favourite looks, in the way i like to dress, the makeup i wear and how i generally styled myself recently,  have been quite soft and simple i guess...

Fluffy coats:
 Obviously I wouldn't ever wear real fur but that fleecy or teddy-ish look is really appealing at this time of year. I recently got a grey fleecy/ faux fury vintage coat and I can't get enough of it. The way I like to style it isn't fussy or specific. I think it looks good with anything really. But I guess I have been wearing it mostly with tights and a high-waist denim skirt.

Pink eyelids: 
Expect a whole post on 'lipstick lids' some time soon, it just needs the finishing touches and it pretty much sums up this look so you will see!
Layering velvet: 
I have accumulated a rather large amount of vintage velvet pieces and the soft texture is just too comforting to not throw on. I have an indigo vintage velvety shirt which I have been chucking on over a tight black top, over any basic tee which is tucked into jeans or a skirt, and over dresses too. I love the look but, most of all, the texture.



This month I have discovered a whole different corner of vegan eating. Before I was eating quite a whole food diet (which probably was a bit better for me tbh) but now, as the occasional change or treat, I have been using dairy-free cheese, 'veganaise', and I recently tried a vegan chocolate spread. I'm still loving sweet potatoes and the unfortunately out-of-season avocados, however I now have a lot more options!

'Pizza' toasties:
These are so easy to make and I will probably make a recipe on how to make these sometime. They are basically pitta bread, tomato puree and whatever toppings you desire. they take about five minutes to prepare and six minutes to cook/ melt. I kind of just made the recipe up when I got my vegan cheese and now I've been adding chopped up onion, home made pesto, chilli sauce or fresh basil to them too.

Hot coconut cacao:
Hot chocolate made from raw cacao power, agave nectar and coconut milk. It goes so rich and creamy. Cacao and agave are great as healthier alternatives to cocoa and refined sugar.

Green Tea:
Nothing new but definitely something I have re-discovered for myself recently. I love adding a tiny bit of sugar to a mug of this and not brewing it for too long.


Tangerine candle:
I have had to stop myself burning this as I am actually fearful it will run out soon. This smells like a sugar coated version of the tangerine which I always find in the toe of my Christmas stocking. I also love the orange glow it lets out when I turn off the lights.

Yoga:
I don't do a proper yoga class or anything but, with the help of the internet, I have been finding little yoga pre-bedtime routines and stretches which I have really liked. In early December, I unfortunately had to have an operation on my foot so exercise has been almost impossible as I lay in bed for days and hobbled around for days after that. To give my body the bit of movement it needed for me to not freeze in a hunched over curled up position, I have used some yoga to get myself moving a little.


What have you been loving?
Happy holidays! xox 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Rosé


 

An experimental collection of pink themed photographs on a candlelit winter evening 



















Disposable pink shot glasses
My favourite necklace my grandma made for me when I was little
A bottle of Rosé wine brought back with us from Portugal
A candle my sister gave me for Christmas last year
"Fairy Dust"
Coconut lipgloss



Taken whilst listening to Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles and Take Care by Tom Rosenthal.




Saturday, 15 October 2016

How to "proudctively" sit around watching films (?)



So, of course getting up and out, taking action with the things you care about, and joining movements does a lot more for the world and yourself than just spending your days inside wishing stuff would change. However part of taking action, politically, ethically etc, is educating yourself on the topics that matter to you most, if not topics that you know little about so far. I have recently watched a lot of documentaries so let me share some with you! I'm not saying that educational documentaries are enough to single-handedly save the world or even the best way to educate yourself on things. But, on the days where I want to really relax and I know I won't go out, I have been making a small effort to choose to watch things that empower or inspire me.

Watched:

1. When Black Became Beautiful
This is a documentary series released by BBC in 2004. I know that was quite a long time ago but, luckily for me, my Dad had recorded it all and I watched it last week. It was really interesting and if you can somehow find it (or something similar) I really recommend it. There isn't enough in the media about the beauty of POC so I urge you to look for what you can find rather than relying on the TV channels to give it to you, because they probably won't.

2. Forks Over Knives
I am always finding knew ways to further explore veganism, animal rights and the environmental issues we face. This documentary actually focused mostly on health and how a whole-foods, plant-based diet can and has helped so many people to reverse their illnesses and changed their lives.

3.Exploring LA Strippers, Girl Bikers And Teen Activists Fighting For Sexual Equality With Adwoa Aboah
This documentary is only half an hour long and accessible to everyone who has internet because it is on YouTube! Yay. Head over to the I-D channel and check this out because it sparks so many different opinions, makes you question your own and is an easy watch.

Image result for id magazine youtube

4. Cowspiracy
I know I have spoken so much about this film on this blog already. It is with reason. I think everyone should watch this whether you aspire to be vegan or not. You have gotta just know what you and we are doing to the planet. It is so important and Cowspiracy focuses mainly on the environment and how our planet is dying. It is in no way boring or biased and it is made in a really great way. It taught me SO MUCH important stuff. To summarise in one word: WOW. And... If I were to summarise it in a phrase: WATCH IT ASAP.

Want to Watch: 

1. The True Cost
As a fashion enthusiast, i feel responsible to learn more about the fashion industries, fast fashion in particular and how dangerous it is to the exploited people who make some of our clothes. I know a little about it but I want to find out more in hope that it will make me more conscious with buying in future.

2. Fresh Dressed
So, I have seen a little bit of this one already but I need to finish it. So far, so good. Another good one for fashion enthusiasts to actually find out more background about where your favorite styles and trends actually emerged from, this time focusing on the people who aren't being recognised for their huge contribution to what makes up urban fashion today.

3. He Named Me Malala
I really want to see this, despite some of the reviews not being as good as expected. I think the shooting of Malala and the amazing things she has managed to achieve since are really important events in such recent history for me to learn more about.



Don't forget that you don't need Netflix or anything like that to access these. Some stuff is on YouTube or other sites and, if not, maybe ask a friend to watch it with you if they have access to it on something like Netflix or a DVD. Some places I find a good documentary every now and then are BBC iPlayer and 4od Also, you could rent the discs from a DVD store or library. It will be a good investment, I'm sure. :)



So my advice is that you educate yourself whilst you can. Films can be so powerful and you never know, one film could change your view on everything forever. Make sure you distinguish between educational facts and biased propaganda because you will definitely come across some inaccurate rubbish which could do the total opposite to what I'm getting at.
I definitely want to be here to suggest and encourage people to find ways to help the world and themselves even if it is in the smallest of ways. 
Enjoy which ever ones you pick and don't forget to comment some more to watch! It would be much appreciated.

xo