Saturday, 24 January 2015

Veganuary - my journey to becoming vegan

This January I decided to start with a little something called Veganuary - a challenge to eat vegan for the whole month of January. I eat a lot of vegan food but the step seemed too big to become a vegan, even though I always felt guilty for eating dairy or eggs. Since I'm all into trying new things I decided to take part in Veganuary. It's a british concept I believe, but is of course open to anyone who is interested.

Exactly 2 weeks in I decided that I am going to be a full time vegan. Eating vegan is not as hard as it seems and since we don't need animal products to survive (and thrive), what's the point in eating them when it causes unnecessary harm to billions of animals and there are perfectly good vegan substitutes for everything?

I am now a vegan for three weeks and a few days and I feel awesome. It is so great to have a choice to be able to eat guilt free - it is cheaper than eating omni and nearly everything you need can be bought in your local supermarket or made from ingredients that can be bought in your local supermarket. Lately I have been trying a lot of vegan substitutes for cheese and meat which can not always be bought in a supermarket but of course you don't have to. I just ate a vegan lasagne which tasted no different from the 'real deal'. For people who are concerned about my health: everything your body needs can be found in plants. Vegans do need to watch their iron and b12 levels but if you eat loads of leafy greens like fresh spinach or kale (or even regular apples) you don't have to worry about iron.
B12 isn't naturally found in plants but comes from our soil and can be derived from nutritional yeast or b12 fortified foods. I take a supplement about twice a week to make sure I don't get deficient.
I have the idea that I have been eating much healthier and much more unprocessed since I became a vegan and my body is loving it. I have loads of energy and I am losing a lot of weight that I had gained in the past months.

I am not only convinced that eating vegan is healthier for your body but it is certainly the best thing to do if you care about the environment (did you know that the livestock industry is responsible for more than half of the total greenhouse gas emission?) but is also the very best thing to do if you genuinely care about animals - if you agree with me that living breathing beings with emotions like love, fear, anger and happiness should not be exploited, enslaved, raped, tortured and murdered so we can have food that we don't actually need to survive.

I will of course extend my veganism by not buying any other products that are animal derived or tested on animals (except for necessary medicine).

I am so incredibly happy to have taken the plunge to say no to cruelty and to live happy and guilt free from now on.


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Lights in the Darkness

Finding nice things to do in these dark days is really wat keeps me going.
I had a wonderful midwinter celebration with the lovely ladies of Dance of Life.
I don't have any pictures of it as I thought that taking pictures in between all the time would distract me from the celebration itself, which was very intuitive, breathtaking and intense. I discovered a lot about myself and I laughed and cried and danced. It was beautiful.
Dance of Life did actually organise my first celebration and even though this was vastly different, they really have a knack for making me feel comfortable in a room full of strangers; which is quite an achievement. I usually feel very uneasy at parties and tend to avoid them because of that.

I'm not a fan of Christmas because I think its original purpose has been forgotten in the vast amounts of food ugly decorations and the hypocritical peace proclamations (why proclaim peace for a few days while you don't live it the rest of the year?) and I also don't like it for the fact that I'm not a christian and won't ever be. I know that most of the Christmas traditions derive from Yule/midwinter, which is a Pagan festivity that I do celebrate, but I don't like the Christian messages attached to it. Each to his own, I guess. However, Yule is all about the returning of the light and finding lights in the darkness, so that's what I want to talk about today!

Maybe it's that I'm now more aware of it this year compared to other years as I am more aware of the meaning of Yule and living it more, but it surprises me how many 'light' centered events and festivals there are in my surroundings; such as the Amsterdam Light Festival, New Years Eve with the fireworks and the China Light Festival in Utrecht. It makes me very happy to see this and I want to attend them all!

On Christmas Eve I had nothing to do so I went to the China Light Festival with my boyfriend. The China Light Festival takes place in the Botanical Gardens in Utrecht and consists of hundreds of light sculptures in various shapes and sizes - very beautiful! These are some of the pictures I took:

Afterwards, we went to visit the Utrecht city center to have dinner. It was almost surreal - there was no one on the streets at all! The city was beautifully lit though - more lights in the darkness!

The Dom tower was especially beautiful.

After looking for a restaurant for a long time (everything was closed because of Christmas unfortunately) we finally found the perfect place. The vegetarian food they cooked me was delicious. When I go out I rarely eat really good vegetarian food (most food is just a meat dish with the meat left out) but this was amazing. It was a lovely end to a romantic night out.