Lifestyle · Opinion · vegan

How The Manchester Bombing Made Me Realise That Humanity Will Never Be Vegan, So What’s The Point In Trying?

Disclaimer: I want to address this matter as sensitively as I can. I do not want to take the thoughts off those that were killed, injured and traumatised. Therefore, I ask if you will read what I have to say with an open heart. I am not using this to push my beliefs on others. I only want to inspire a better world. 

Humanity works on a spectrum. There are those who are the tallest and the shortest and  those who are the strongest and the weakest. Therefore, there are also those that are good and bad to the extremes. This week something horrific happened in Britain. ISIS took responsibility for another terrorist attack in the UK. The horror is unimaginable and I couldn’t help putting myself there, in the crowds. I was the dying woman, being comforted by the homeless man, the child who had no legs and the running teenagers trying to find their parents.

It’s hard for me, as a pacifist, to see why anyone would justify murder. I can agree that many would think that I am an extremist on the left hand side of the political spectrum. It’s physically sewn into me to have a deep opposition to violence of any kind. I was born with a sensitive essence and a single bout of violence or conflict makes me feel physically ill. I feel sick, shake, cry and feel all kinds of negative emotions and physical sensations. That’s how I can see that there are people who have the opposite effect, or are unable to care. I am physically forced to care. There are no boundaries to protect me other than avoidance. All I can do about it is mediate and promote peace.

As a Brit, I am pretty clueless to why terrorists are attacking the western world. I’ve heard so many different opinions online and off but I still don’t understand it fully. I’m only admitting this because I believe there is no way any of us, who is not a member of ISIS or considering it, really will ever understand. To us, it is ludicrous to even consider the thoughts inside these peoples heads, that justifies what they are doing. Our culture is the only way most of us have ever lived and so we are going to be biased towards it and we are going to want to protect it. It’s hard for us to see why would anyone want to destroy our way of living.

Although the solidarity was incredibly moving and probably one of the only good things to come out of the attacks, the worst thing that came after was the racism. All I can see behind these racist comments are close minded and uneducated people, who are scared. They want us to ban Muslims from entering the country and many want us to bomb the terrorists. This just can’t be done. They are all over the world, in this country and in many others. There is no way that we can even find out who they all are, never mind kill them all, especially without innocent people being killed. If you lived in a village where there were crazy gunmen running free, would you think that it would be justified to bomb the entire village to kill them all, including all of the innocent people who have there doors locked in fear. What if one of those innocent people was you? I can’t see how that is ever justified. It is murder. I would hope that most people would understand how unethical that would be.

It’s apparent to some of us, but not all of us, that Islam is not the problem but the extremists themselves are. Just as I said earlier, many things in life are on a spectrum. I want to promote peace, they don’t. It’s simple, yet complicated. If Islam was the problem, we would be having far worse issues than we are today. The problem lies within humanity. There have been many who have fought for land, power and weapons over greed, selfishness and religion for all of our existence. It’s not something new. Correct me if I’m wrong, as I am not exactly well versed in the religion. I’ve heard it’s contradictory and I’m pretty sure that ISIS is getting a lot out of bombing us and I can believe that they are doing it in order to gain more popularity as more and more people hate on Muslims.

We still have a lot of growing to do in this country. However, let’s not forget that we have already grown as a collective in so many ways. In this country women politically have the same rights as men. Change will continue to happen if we work on it. Our ideologies have changed. When something like this happens, people act and speak out of fear. It’s natural to do this. However, the fear from the initial problem creates more problems, as we start to see our own protection as the most important thing. We don’t think about those who live in war zones right now, whose lives have been completely ruined by ISIS. We want freedom from terror but the way we think we should go about it will not always create that freedom that we want. How is it freeing to export innocent Muslims, who are conscious people just like you and I, into a place governed by evil, a place full of poverty and war? How is it freeing to bomb countries and risk killing thousands of innocent people, just like you and I?

I can already feel people hitting me over the head. I know the world isn’t black and white and I know that in my life time I will never see a perfect world, or one that’s perfect to me, but what’s so wrong with working towards positive change? What’s wrong with giving a damn? Ever heard the saying, ‘be the change you want to see in the world?’ Change starts from an individuals desire to make the world they perceive a better place for as many as possible.

If you aren’t vegan, you probably still know that vegans want a vegan world, where no animal will experience violence at the hand of a human, even though most of us know that this will never happen.  The reasons why it won’t happen are so clear to me today. Even after all the centuries that have passed, people are still being hurt and killed by our own kind. Right now, there is no way that I can believe that humans will all stop doing the same to animals.

Killing animals and using them for the greed of human kind is violence, whatever way you look at it. Most people just accept it as just something that has to be done. You might think that vegans aren’t making a difference but as populations increase we will eventually run out of time to fix the issues that are inevitable. We are just trying to make the world a little better.

As a rule, humans generally follow each other, which creates our society. The more humans promote peace, for humanity and the way we treat other species, the better. The more people promoted women’s rights, the closer it got to us actually receiving them. Please be on the side of good, always, and please promote peace, always.

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Opinion · vegan

‘Nutritionists Say ‘Baffling’ Official Guidance To Halve Dairy Food Intake Puts Public Health At Risk,’ // My Thoughts As A Vegan

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‘Government’s official advisory body on diet, says reducing milk and cheese is vital to cut obesity.’

This is what I’ve woken up to this morning and I am furious of the media for opposing this idea. The post on the Telegraph website titled, ‘Nutritionists say ‘baffling’ official guidance to halve dairy food intake puts public health at risk,’ is indeed baffling me.

As a vegan, I am happy that it is being suggested that people eat less dairy products as this equals healthier people, less environmental impact and most importantly, less animal suffering. The dairy industry is cruel. I did not even know anything about this when I was a vegetarian but now thanks to the internet and documentaries, things have begun to change.

However, how the media is portraying this news is not in a positive light. Dairy products are full of saturated fat and are bad for the heart. My resting heart rate has gone down considerably since quitting dairy and I feel a lot less out of breath without increasing the amount of exercise I do.  Drinking another mammals milk is not good for you. We are weaned at a young age from drinking our own mother’s milk just to be switched to milk that is meant for growing calves. We no longer need it and we definitely do not need it from another animal.

It says, ‘The move was heavily criticised by nutritionists, MPs and the dairy industry, who accused PHE of putting public health at risk with its “baffling” advice.’ Of course the dairy industry are going to have a huge problem with this. This is business for them. They make their money by promoting a diet that includes dairy. It is cringe worthy that the Telegraph even wrote the dairy industry in there. Surely anyone could see the reasons why they would say that.

The article then says,’They say the new guidance does not provide for enough calcium or iodine in people’s diet, essential for healthy bones and brain development.’ The average British adult does not eat five portions of fruit or day so probably relies on these vitamins. Eating a healthy vegan diet full of nuts, seeds, beans, vegetables, fruit and just good whole foods will ensure that we have plenty of nutrients (need to take a supplement or have fortified foods for B12 – found in soil) and reduce obesity and all the risks that come along with it – diabetes, heart disease, cancer and many more. The idea that we need milk to get calcium is a myth. You can find out more about this by watching Forks Over Knives which I have linked below, but basically osteoporosis is most commonly found in countries where animal products are most consumed. Animal products are acidic on the body which makes bones leach out calcium, depleting levels. Milk also decreases iron absorption in the body – many omnivores and vegetarians are iron deficient because of this. I was anaemic several times as an omnivore and vegetarian because I was eating a lot of yoghurt and milk so not absorbing iron properly.

Plant based iodine sources include baked potatoes, seaweed, fortified iodised salt, Himalayan crystal salt, dried prunes, navy beans, bananas, canned corn, cranberries, green beans, white bread and many many more so that argument is also invalid.

And these comment angers me the most, ‘Vegetable crops are harder for the body to digest than dairy food’ and ‘it’s simply not realistic to suggest people can get what they need from other food types.’ They are suggesting that it is more important to get our nutrients from dairy products. These nutrients are eaten by the animal from plants, processed inside of them and then we consume them. Surely it is better to get the nutrients from their natural source? How can they promote dairy products over vegetables? Everyone knows that vegetables are healthier than dairy products. I do not know about you but when I ate dairy products they would sit heavy in my stomach and take a while to digest but when I eat vegetables they get digested a lot quicker and my stomach feels so much better for it. My energy levels have shot up with the influx of fruit and vegetables – not how I felt when I was eating dairy. Many people suffer from lactose intolerance, IBS and other digestive disorders – they cannot digest dairy products properly but have no problems with plants that grow out of the ground.

“It is possible for vegans to get their calcium and other nutrients from other sources,” she said, “but it takes a lot of input from dieticians.” No, it just takes a little research, which is easy with the internet, and a little interest in your health.

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The media are well known for scaremongering. Yet the comments made in the article are what people actually believe as they have grown up being told by the dairy industry that you need to drink milk to get enough calcium. It makes people think that eating a plant based diet is not good for you when there is so much evidence that a plant based diet is the healthiest diet. Do not believe everything the media tells you. The nutritionists who have spoke are likely connected to the dairy industry and if you cannot figure out why that is a problem then you need to have a serious think!

Sources:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/12204366/Nutritionists-say-baffling-official-guidance-to-halve-dairy-food-intake-puts-public-health-at-risk.html

“bembu.com/iodine-rich-foods

“www.theveganrd.com/2013/08/calcium-and-protein-and-bone-health-in-vegans.html

“Forks Over Knives documentary – watch online for free

Lifestyle · Opinion · vegan

The Milk And Egg Dilemma // Veganism

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I’m ready to talk about veganism. I tried a vegan diet a few month ago and failed and now I am going to talk to you about my thoughts on this, what changed my mind and why this time I am not going back.

Veganism is something that has been on my mind for a while. I find it hard to make decisions and this one was not easy. There was a lot of confusion and stress on my part and a lot of judgement and criticism from others.

About two weeks ago I stopped eating milk and eggs. There was nothing in particular that made me do it but a series of things. A lot of new vegans have become vegan after watching documentaries and researching. For quite a while I was a vegetarian, unaware that there was still more I could do and I was still contributing to the death and suffering of many defenceless innocent animals. I could not live with that any more. I had watched Cowspiracy and Vegucated a few months ago and tried the diet and failed because I had relied on milk products and eggs for so long that I did not have much else to eat. I upset my stomach several times too and made me anxious that I was not eating the right things.

So what changed?

A couple of weeks ago I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives. This convinced me to try again or at least to research more. It confirmed to me with facts that it was the healthiest way to eat. I researched recipes and alternatives and, for the first time, became excited about food.

The biggest challenge for me was not giving up cheese or milk based yoghurt. It was the views of other people. Eager to talk to other vegans I joined a group called Vegan UK on Facebook. I found a lot of useful advice on foods and products. I felt good and positive about becoming a vegan. I was excited. This group changed that – I was not expecting the negativity. I was transitioning, still somewhat unsure of what my views were. I would say that these people let their emotions get in the way of the facts and were very judgemental of meat eaters and people who are not vegan enough. They* were against animal suffering but verbally attacking humans was OK to them. I didn’t want to be associated with these people. They even made me cry because my partner didn’t want to neuter our dog. I was undecided and I was just asking for advice but instead they said that I was an irresponsible owner and said things like ‘you’re unf*ckngbelieveable.’  That really hurt. That didn’t want to make me become a vegan. People will never become vegan if people are literally demeaning and attacking them. It still angers me now! I know people are always going to be more confronting on line but there was no need for that attitude. I am very sensitive of the feelings of others and so I felt like I did not fit in the vegan community. Since then I have joined nicer vegan groups!

Finding other vegans.

Someone at work was talking about turning vegan after watching some documentaries. Here in the UK I do not personally know a single vegan. I was so happy and it made us both excited to find someone else in the same position. She thought the meat she ate was ethical but now knows that there is no ethical meat. Just this one person agreeing with me and having a similar view point helped to set my beliefs in stone.

My partner is not a vegan and I am OK with that because I am OK with people being to able to make their own choices without being constantly nagged at. When I cook vegan meals for dinner he eats them. He is supportive and understanding but he just doesn’t feel the same as me and I respect him enough to let him make up his own mind. We are still feeding our dog meat based food and I am OK with this too.

Final thoughts.

I am not labelling myself as a vegan right now. I am eating a vegan diet and only buying vegan products but I have been going horse riding for a few weeks now. I go with a friend and we absolutely love it. I can see the perspective that some people have but I currently do not share it. I don’t want to go into this right now so I’m going to leave it there.

If you want to encourage others to become vegan, do it kindly with positivity. Show them how good it is and be supportive. Thanks for reading.

After the research I have done and the things I have seen I cannot go back now.

*It was probably a small percentage of the group that were like this but enough for me to be affected

Opinion

Deliciously Ella’s Sweet Potato Brownies Review // Guilt Free Eating

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Deliciously Ella is a blog, and now two books, by Ella Woodward. After transferring to a plant based diet free from gluten, preservatives and processed junk food, including refined sugar, she has ridden herself of the awful symptoms she experienced from having POTS. On her blog and in her books she creates and shares recipes of healthy food. My sister bought me her first book for Christmas and I have enjoyed looking through it and making some of the recipes. As a fussy eating, acid reflux suffering vegetarian, I find it hard to find healthy foods to eat. I also used to hate cooking – this book has changed that. So much so, that I pre-ordered, and now own, her new book.

Deliciously Ella

Ella’s 1st and 2nd books.

If you think that the ingredients are going to be expensive, let me tell you that you are wrong. They aren’t expensive. The brown rice flour only cost me £1.89. The cacao powder was £4.99 from Tesco but will last me so long as you only need a small amount to create a lot of flavour – half the amount of cocoa powder you would use. 

I also love the smoothie bowl from the second book. I add almond butter to it and I was surprised by how much protein, not to mention vitamins and nutrients that it has in it. A great breakfast for a vegetarian. I don’t even like avocados but this smoothie bowl has some in and you can’t even taste it nor can you taste the almond butter – lots of goodness without the nasty taste!

I could say lots of good things but I mustn’t waffle on. Let me get back to the brownies. I do not have a steamer so instead used a colander over a saucepan full of boiling water which worked perfectly well. I do not currently have a food processor but I do plan on getting one in the future so I used my smoothie blender which took a little work and I had to pull a few lumpy bits out but we got there in the end. So if you don’t have a steamer or a processor don’t worry you can work around it like I did. My blender is a cheaper version of the Nutribullet but works just as well. There were no other issues I faced whilst preparing and cooking. I waiting 20 minutes and checked it with a fork which came out dirty so put it on for another 5 minutes and it came out clean. 

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I only had a Pyrex dish so this is how it turned out. Yes I was too eager to taste it before photographing it. I was only going to have a bite but it tasted really nice so I ended up having more!

I was a little worried about these because I had read on a tabloid newspaper article that they weren’t worth the hassle. It really wasn’t a hassle in my opinion. There were other bad reviews too. I can see why the brownies wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste because you can taste the dates in them and I think that people are trying to compare them to chocolate brownies that are full of unhealthy ingredients and you shouldn’t do that. You cannot compare healthy food to unhealthy food. They are in a completely different category to each other.

The matter of the fact is that healthy food will never taste like unhealthy food but your tastes buds do change after eating this way for pretty short time and you will end up preferring to eat this way, without your stomach and energy levels complaining. This way you can feel good and positive about eating completely guilt free brownies.

This recipe is from her first book but you can also find it on her blog here.

Opinion

How I Feel Right Now About Having Children

 

(L-R) Dad, my brother and I on holiday and my Nan and I in her garden

Ask me how I felt about having kids ten years ago and I’d have said a big stern NO. Ask me a few months ago and it would be the same answer. Ask me now…

I made a pact when I was in secondary school with my two best friends. I remember it so clearly. We were having a debate about abortion in the cloak room. I loved debating with them. One of my friends generally had a different opinion and that made it interesting, whilst the other had a similar one to me so I had the best of both. It was then we all agreed to never have kids. I miss the days with those two. I don’t miss the insecurities I had at that age but I really miss those two. I see them a couple of times a year now. We all live in different counties and all have our own careers. OK Sarah back away from the soppy stuff! We’ve grown up. That’s the point here. I know for sure that one of them wants a family of her own. I think we can safely say that the pact will be no more. We are all sensible. We are not the type of people who have kids when they can’t afford it. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not always planned and I know that some people will never have enough money to afford to give their children everything that I would want to give them – that shouldn’t mean they shouldn’t have their right to have children taken away from them. You know what I’m saying?

I was always afraid. I hate being ill and being in pain. I fear it. Pregnancy and child birth were terrifying for me from a young age. I never wanted to be terrified and thought that if I became pregnant I’d be in a continuously anxious state. I’ve been there before and it was hell.

Now I am 24, I have overcome so many of my fears and I am maturing. I have a different outlook on life. A positive one. I have realised that you only live once and what this truly means. I don’t want to take life for granted and I don’t want to be lying on my death bed and regretting my life. Lots of people around me are having children and they are so happy.

So I began researching. I begun with my fears and how women who have been through pregnancy have coped (that’s a lot of women). I watch many Youtube videos. I learnt a lot but I will tell you the two things that stuck out to me. The first was that ‘being pregnant was the most natural thing in the world.’ This was from a woman who had once thought that it was scary to have something ‘alien’ inside of you! The second was that a woman who suffered from morning sickness. She said that she rather be the one being sick as it was better than letting her child suffer. So once you become pregnant you instinctively feel a connection with the child and you want to protect it from that young. That was pretty heart warming.

I’ve also learnt to not be put off by bad experiences. The ones they put on TV are there for the ratings. Most experiences are positive.

I’ve been through pain before. It’s over now but at the time it was very unpleasant. The point here is that pregnancy and childbirth it is temporary and it’s not as scary. It’s not like being in awful pain and being scared as you don’t know what it is. It is natural. Plus once your pregnant child birth is something you have to go through. You just have to. That’s a good mentality to have.

An epidural is apparently amazing. No pain! The things that scare me are the consequences. Being cut open down there and being stitched up sounds incredibly painful for a long time. C-sections sound terrifying. I get acid reflux a lot anyway so I know that will get worse. I have bladder problems too so a baby pushing down on my bladder is going to be painful. But I’ve been through similar pain before.

I have also thought about my own experience. I had a hard time being a teenager up until early this year when my mental state improved and I gained confidence and strength. Last year I didn’t want to bring a child up because I was so unhappy. I didn’t want to bring anyone into this world as it was a world of suffering. I don’t feel that way any more. I am happy.

I only have this one life and do I really want to miss out on this amazing experience? I never thought I’d be asking myself this question.

I’m not ready right now. I want to do it the way that feels right. Great relationship? Check. Married, home owner and financially and mentally ready? Well that may take a while. Ask me in five years and I might be ready. I’m starting to think I can handle it!

If it fails then I want to live in a house with some land. I’ll have 2 dogs, 2 guinea pigs, 4 pigmy goats, 3 shetland ponies, two tortoises, a horse and a loving husband. Hopefully some nephews and nieces as well.

How do you feel? What was your experience?

Opinion

What I Think About Living…

I was going to call this how I feel about dying but that’s not what this post is about. It’s about living. You know that feeling when you have all these thoughts that need putting into words. Well my mind is getting more and more crowded by the hour and I really need to write them down.

Maturity – nobody wants to grow old, so why am I happier now I am older? Life experiences perhaps? Maybe more freedom? More self discovery?

I am 24 years old. The past year I have learnt more about myself and I am beginning to see life in a brighter light. Earlier this year I was introduced to Eckhart Tolle. This man would be the only man I’d worship and I would never had thought that I would watch videos of a spiritual teacher. He showed me that the only way to live is in the moment. He only needs to say a few words and I am at peace.

I discovered a lot about myself. I am an INFP, according to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, and I have been able to find out why I am the way I am and why I feel the way I feel and that others are like this too and that is okay. My physical health has improved (well all except my stomach but I’ll save that for another time), my diet has improved, I have a shift that allows me to have more days off work in the year than days on, I earn more money and there is nothing I love more than my little family consisting of my partner and my dog.

All these things have made me happier. However, the sudden rush of thoughts about life have come from a realisation that I do not want to die. I’ve never wanted to. It may sound silly but I saw a mole on my shoulder a couple of nights ago and it scared me. It was definitely atypical. Melanoma, I thought. The big scary c word everyone is afraid of. I researched, looked at the mole and researched some more. I’m too young to die was the only thing I could think. It was Thursday night and it’s now Saturday and I’ve been working and unable to go to the doctors yet [edit – it was nothing]. I’ve since calmed down. Worrying won’t help the situation. If it is melanoma then I do not want to spend my life unhappy. If it isn’t then I still don’t want to spend the rest of my life unhappy.

I get in moods where I am grumpy for no real reason and I feel unhappy. Life’s too short to feel unhappy just because nothing is making me happy right now. I am the only person who can truly make me happy. Now I can’t stop thinking about how truly amazing life is.12278854_941317125961784_3518634415866665721_n

So if this is what ageing is, then I really don’t want to spend the rest of my life worrying about it. I want to live to the fullest and fully accept that there is nothing I can do to stop getting older. For it just brings more self acceptance and what is so wrong with that?