Category: VEGANISM AND ACTIVISM

Radical statements and beliefs. No! Why not?

Simply because since I remember myself, I always have thought that everyone should have the freedom for their own opinions and beliefs and their way of life till it’s not acting out and destroying other living being lives in a malicious way. You’d call me a freedom fighter? Be it so, if you wish. I just have my own beliefs and values for life. We all are unique with some similarities, the point in this uniqueness is that we are different and because of that I am not seeking for agreement or acceptance from all sides, actually for me it is fun and pleasurable to see all the people’s different faces. This is what makes this world so unrepeatable.

I don’t fight for a perfect world to live in, equal rights, no injustice, and paradise on the Earth. I am not preaching for rebellious acts, bohemian lifestyle and veganizing the world. Yes, I may mention this, it may appear in some of my acts in a daily basis, some sentences in this blog and some conversations along the way but it is not preaching, I have never forced my thoughts, beliefs, and values upon someone else’s. During my lifespan I have changed some, I have found and accepted more compatible approach for my own self, it’s not carved in stone, some may change, some will develop in time, some can be added but this one, which I mentioned earlier, never leaves me – everyone should have the freedom for their own opinions and beliefs and their way of life till it’s not acting out and destroying other living being’s lives in a malicious way. And this is the reason why I am not a preacher. Even with this one, I just tend to “walk away” if I see the one-way road from the other side. Because I don’t spend my precious time for meaningless, nowhere leading and endless argues. My mission is to interduce you with some ways of life, to lead you to your own path of deeper awareness and most importantly, to lead you to think.

Thinking is the key. When we stop following the crowd, blindfolding our true selves, we start to question, to analyze, to think, magnificent changes and miracles start to happen and that’s the path to our happier lives.

So If I truly believe that everyone should be free to have their values, beliefs, opinions, and way of life, why am I telling about mine or paying more attention to some more than others? Simply because I am telling you this to complete my mission – to lead you to awareness, thinking and understanding, afterward you have your own choice, then it is up to you which way you go.

I’m telling about things which have meaning for me, I am passionate about and I know something about them, in this way it is easier to interduce you with the process of thinking.

Why is it important? Well, I was in the same place. I followed the brainwashed crowd full of society dogma’s and wondered why am I unhappy till the moment I “woke up” and decided to put a stop to this ignorance and found my own “voice”. There is nothing wrong with any way of living, if it doesn’t do harm to others and if it’s something you really like and enjoy. If I’m telling that it is important that everyone can have their own way why am I excluding harming others and being cruel to them? First of all, some borderlines always should be, second of which, it lays in the same box if you lead your life in a way that does harm to others without their approval, your forcing your sh*t on others. Speaking about myself, of course, there are some ways with which I don’t and won’t agree, but it doesn’t give me the rights to blame and force my own beliefs upon someone. It is normal, we can’t all be the same and have the same viewpoint and beliefs if I won’t agree, I simply “walk away” and put my attention to things I and like-minded people care about. Problems arise when people think that there is only one right way – their way and they try to prove it in all possible ways that it is the only right one and are forcing it upon others no matter what.

In the end, I wish well to our planet, people and all living beings. Enough of ignorance.

May seem that this blog post is about me and my viewpoint, it is and it’s not. It’s about creating a splash of curiosity and awareness for you, that you can take at least 5 minutes and think about your beliefs and way of life that is important for you.

What are your main life guidelines?

 

 

Why Vegan: Ethical aspect

People tend to go vegan for different reasons – health, environmental and ethical. Some have a balance between all three of them, some have, more likely, just for one or maybe two. Those who tend to care more about their health are more categorized into eating a whole food, plant-based diet and in some cases, they haven’t put their thoughts too much into what’s really happening “behind the scenes” in meat, dairy and egg industries. Some ethical vegans don’t care too much what they put into their belly as long as they know that they don’t do any harm to non-human animals as much as it is possible (hopefully also humankind haha). Those who care about our planet, know that veganism is the best way to don’t do as much damage and they tend to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle that includes different choices – eating a vegan diet, ethical clothing, local shopping, less plastic consumption, minimalist lifestyle etc.        

This blog post is not about putting one reason and way of living higher than others. I believe that all of them are important in all their forms. As it is for me, I try to balance them all with a little pinch of a bigger drive toward ethical veganism, but it doesn’t mean that I’m being skeptical or judgmental if others do differently. A person has a choice and if some reason gives more drive than another, then, heck, just go for it, if it still does less harm, I’m OK with that! 

If you’re not vegan but at least you have a bit of spark of curiosity, you can check out my post – introduction (Go Vegan?). You can apply also to 10-week email series, from “Vegan outreach” that can make the transformation a bit easier.

In this post, I will write more about ethical veganism, but later on, there will be more posts that include also other reasons. I will try not to sound too harsh because on a daily basis I am quite OK, with a positive attitude, I try to show an example. I’m not for judgmental and disheartening attitude and “brainwashing”. But there are some moments when I’m flared up if it comes to beliefs, animal rights, and activism. OK, let’s get into it!

As the definition of veganism tells us, it’s about doing less harm – reduction of exploitation, and cruelty to animals as much as possible.

“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

Even though I found out about veganism because I was diving deeper into a healthy lifestyle and my food choices, when I watched documentaries and read articles and some research papers, I couldn’t bear anymore the fact what’s happening to animals in the livestock industry. I always felt love and compassion toward animals, I just didn’t acknowledge that there is no difference between that cute kitten on the street, neighbors dog, my own cats and the chicken on my plate or pork chops on my friend’s. They all feel pain and they all can suffer. More about that you can read here. And, oh please, don’t go with that lame line “But what about plants? Don’t they have feelings too?”, instead, read some information and you’ll figure out that plants don’t have a nervous system, animals do. Even if some recent studies suggest that the life of plants is more complex, still we clearly can see (and it’s proven) that animals show their pleasure or pain. And even if that’s not enough, you should know that by eating animal products, you consume more plants than if you eat them directly. Generally speaking on a vegan diet you consume less and do less harm. Before I didn’t make the connection. And mostly, in the beginning, it’s for all of us – other we don’t see it or we simply refuse to see it. It is because we don’t know a different way, we have been raised up like that due to norms of society and all the stereotypes and because of this, a lot of people don’t even take it under consideration to doubt it, to do research, to see and try. But it shouldn’t be this way. We’re not living in the undeveloped world anymore, we can choose and we should. There have been already enough research to prove that humans can live healthy without consuming animal products. Then we are left with ethics. Why? Why should we put animals through suffering and kill them if it’s unnecessary for our survival and well being? To please our taste buds or entertain ourselves? Where are the morals? Why should we take advantage of them just because they may not be as intelligent, they’re a bit weaker and they can’t speak up for themselves? So what. Especially because of this we should know better and make sure that they are OK. It is in our hands – the lives of animals, our planet, and our health. Ethical veganism is reasonable, cruelty and suffering free choices about food, clothing, shoes, cleaning products, cosmetics, entertainment, etc. 

Why should we look into our ethics? We are naturally born compassionate toward all living beings, and I mean all, also animals. When we’re little, from all our heart we want to do good to animals and we show our love to them and we don’t see the difference between a dog and a cow. We weren’t speciests when we were born, it comes with time and dogmas of society.  All animals should have their rights as humans do. It doesn’t matter that they can’t speak up for themselves that doesn’t mean that we can use and abuse them. Here comes animal activism – a movement that speaks up for animals and their rights. Thanks to all of those who are into animal activism! Also thanks to those who are looking into it. It comes with knowledge and will.

Of course, it is not possible to have a perfect world and don’t do any harm to any live being but there is no perfection! Veganism is in favor of inflicting the slightest possible harm.

Here you can find more detailed information about ethics.

It is up to us how we choose to see the world. Let’s be and do better. Be kind towards yourself and other living beings. 

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Why Vegan?

Watch this:

How to eat healthier? (product alternatives)

There are many ways, how we can interpret the phrase “healthier lifestyle”, for me it is not only about healthy eating and being fit, I would include a lot of aspects of this term – eating balanced, healthy foods in right amounts for each single individual, exercise daily by doing physical activities that YOU enjoy, having balanced working hours vs. free time, having pleasant social life – having time for people who inspires you, understands you, supports you, are positive etc., and vice versa. Time for your loved one and family. Time for your hobbies and things you love to do. Time for self-development and simply time for yourself.

The starting point to switch to a healthier lifestyle starts in your mind. I could tell you to eat that and this in that amounts, by having that nutritional values, do certain exercises, but I am not going to do so. First of all, I am not nutritionist (I have done a lot of research, talked to people, tried several things, etc., in the last 6 years, but I don’t have a degree in science of nutrition), second of which, each single individual has their own body, structure of it and way it works, their own personal needs. I can and will give you some guidelines which work for me, in that way you will have some idea how and where to start and in the process, you will be able to figure out your own personal “right” way how to do the best for your body and mind.

Start with your mind. You have to have the right mindset for this. It is not one of the fast diets, it is a lifestyle. Write down the reasons why you want to do this. It should be about you – your health, wanting to feel the best you can, to have a lot of energy, to look good because it makes you even happier. Like this, you will live life with your best capability, in this way you will be able to fulfill the reason why you are in this world and help others. Healthy mind, body, and spirit. Write down the eating habits that you have now and those which you would want to have. Write a plan for how you can achieve your goal. Set also a deadline for smaller goals, every week write a check-up list. Start with baby steps. Probably it won’t be as fast as you would wish, but like I mentioned before, it is a lifestyle and if you want to make it sustainable, better is to make it slower but right.

Healthy eating is the right choice of a balanced variety of foods in right amounts. To have healthy, well-functioned body, you need to take in all necessary nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, vitamins, minerals). Food is creating energy (right products provide the right energy exchange), which you are able to use by doing things you love and need to do.

In this article, I will write some tips on how to change some products for better, healthier alternatives. Before you dig into this, I will let you know, that I am for plant-based diet, so all healthy or healthier alternatives I will mention, will be vegan, I hope you will find this useful even if you are not vegan, there are a lot of goodies out there nowadays which are worth to try.

Healthy and healthier vegan alternatives:

Processed food – whole foods (vegetables, fruits, greens, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds)

Wheat and white flour products – buckwheat, brown/wild rice, oats, quinoa, whole wheat flour/ pasta/ bread

Soda/sugary drinks – water

Coffee – green tea

Processed juice – freshly squeezed juice; smoothies; fruit/berry/veggie water

Snacks – nuts

Salty snacks – vegetables (baby carrots, cucumber, radish, and any others you like); self-made* popcorn with added spices (possibly without salt), spicy Turkish peas, veggie chips, wholewheat snacks, etc.

Candies, cookies – fruit, dried fruit (grapes and dried fruits like pitted dates, fugues, raisins are very sweet); self-made* popcorn with added maple syrup; self – made sweets (vegan chocolate truffles – take pitted dates, nuts, seeds, cocoa powder, chocolate, water, blend it in high power food processor, make balls, roll them in cocoa or coconut shreds, put in freezer for 10-20 min and voila! Bon appétit!)

Deserts – self-made* desserts (one of easiest – avocado/banana/a bit of plant-based milk/ grounded flaxseeds/chia seeds/ a bit of lemon juice/ cacao/ maple or agave syrup – blend it all together and put some berries, nuts or shredded coconut flakes on top)

Cakes – self-made* cakes

Potato chips – vegetable chips (my favorite are beetroot-carrot or kale chips, they are healthier than potato chips, but still they are processed, high in oil and salt, this should be a treat every now and than, not an everyday choice. The best would be if you would make them yourself, I just don’t have the patience for it.

Potatoes – grains (brown/wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat)

Mashed potatoes – mashed cauliflower

French fries – baked sweet potato sticks

Ketchup – self-made* tomato paste/ ketchup

Oil  –  water, vegetable broth (for coking – plant-based milk, applesauce, water)

*All self-made can be optional, if you don’t like cooking, there are vegan restaurants, grocery shops, and bakeries where you can buy healthy meals, snacks, desserts, cakes, etc. Make sure to check ingredients and ask how it was made if you care a lot about what you are putting into your body.

Vegan alternatives:

Meat

Any kind of meat – tempeh, seitan, tofu (good sources of protein and other nutrition, if you don’t miss the taste of meat, are legumes, beans, peas, lentils); vegan alternatives like vegetarian burgers, sausages, “chicken” nuggets, bacon, ground beef, etc. (texture and even taste is very close to meat, sometimes non-vegans can’t even notice the difference)

Fish and seafood

Fish/seafood – to get your omega – 3, DHA and fatty acids, you can use: walnuts, hemp, chia and flax seeds. Omega – 3 is also in rapeseed oil and some products where it is added as an extra (check the label for it)

Dairy

High fat/or any dairy milk  – plant-based milk. You can use soy, oat, rice, hemp, nut, coconut milk

Sour cream – soy natural yogurt

Yogurt – coconut, soy yogurt

Butter – avocado, tahini, coconut butter, almond butter; dairy free – nonhydrogenated margarine

Cream – coconut, soy, rice, oat cream

Cheese – cashew cheese; vegan cheese alternatives; nutritional yeast, tofu (for example, to get ricotta, you can take firm tofu, drain and crumble it)

Ice cream – blend frozen banana/fruits/berries + cacao/ vanilla + maple/agave syrup; vegan ice cream alternatives

Eggs

Eggs – there are a lot of ways how to replace eggs (nutrition and healthy alternatives, the source of protein without high cholesterol level, are tofu, beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, etc.)

For example, scrambled eggs you can make from tofu.

For cooking, you can replace eggs with mashed banana, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, soy protein, applesauce, peanut butter.

Check out picture down below 🙂

egg replacements

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise made out of eggs – vegan mayonnaise or healthier alternatives like mashed avocado

 

Sugars

Sugar/ honey – agave syrup, maple syrup (if you are baking, you can use also banana, dried fruits like pitted dates)

 

I hope that some of this information was useful for you and now, dear reader, make your first step. I wish you all the best!

What are your healthier product alternatives?

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Introduction (Go Vegan?)

There are a lot of sources about veganism, going vegan, nutrition, best places to dine out, tons of recipes, meal preps etc.
In my attention is to take the summary of all and write it down in an easy, simple way to show you, dear reader, what veganism is and what benefits you can gain from it. So take a cup of green tea, get cozy and “dig into” this informative article.
So what is this beast called veganism?
“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” – vegansociety.com

Veganism is not only about diet, but we are also against cruelty towards animals and exploiting them for our needs.

There are three main reasons why people should consider to go vegan. I will introduce you to them.

  • Health aspects

  • Ethical aspects

  • Environmental aspects

Because I have been into a healthy lifestyle since 2011, my main reason to try out a vegan lifestyle, at least in the beginning, were health aspects. I was doing one of my researches and I bumped into some articles about veganism, they intrigued me, so I kept on seeking more information. That was the same time where I had started to watch some health and lifestyle vloggers in YouTube.com and I notice some vegan vloggers, so I started to watch them and follow up. This is one of those things which my curiosity brought me to. There was no particular person, event, moment or advice from anyone. I didn’t even know any vegan at that time. It all was new for me. So I did a lot of research and I gave it a try. In beginning, I tried out, in addition to my usual diet, some vegan products, meals and went to some restaurants, while I was still in Paris. I liked it and I considered to try to stick to a completely vegan diet for some time at least, just to see how my body reacts and if it can cope with it. I had to postpone this idea for some time due to some external circumstances. When the right time came, everything set in how it should be with no pressure.

Then, in one day, I decided to stop consuming any animal products for some time and since then I haven’t gone back to my previous diet and it is not into my intention to do so. I can say that my mind and body feels great, satisfied and I don’t feel that I’m missing out anything.

Now I will share some facts about the effects animal product have on our body and what benefits are from a plant-based diet.

Health aspects 

Several studies have been shown that consuming proteins and fats from animals increases the risk of developing cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, heart disease.

Further, I will be talking about balanced healthy vegan diet, not junk food vegan diet. However, if your not a healthy lifestyle person, you can still go Vegan, there are tons of yummy vegan snacks, sweets, and products, for each single “normal” meal you can find vegan replacement, also cheese, sausages, cakes, cookies, even “meat” dishes etc which tastes really close to “normal” food. I just would recommend you to go for healthy, not junky veganism. I am for a healthy lifestyle and on a daily basis, I am consuming more whole foods. Clean eating is the best for your body. Our mind and spirit need to be healthy as well, so every now and then I try out some vegan snack, a piece of cake or whatever else I am craving for, still, I prefer homemade sweets and snacks.

Vegetables, legumes, greens, fruits, and whole grains don’t contain cholesterol and are low in fat, especially saturated fats. They are high in fiber vitamins and minerals. There are a lot of plant-based foods that are good sources of protein. Studies have been shown that it’s possible with a balanced vegan diet to get the right amount of proteins and other nutrition. There are a lot of athletes who are on a vegan diet.

There is only one vitamin which has not been found in plant-based diet – B12, which is vital for good health and normal body function. You can read down below, how you can get it.

Main benefits of a vegan diet:

  • Reduces risk of several deceases and conditions.

  • Lover BMI (body mass index) or in other words, you don’t have to restrict yourself (if you’re on a balanced healthy plant-based diet) while still getting all nutrition and being lean and healthy (regular exercises are necessary as well for good health)

  • You will have higher energy levels

  • Healthy skin, hair, and nails

  • Possibilities are that you will get rid of several allergies if you had them. Dairy, meat, and eggs are often cause of several allergies.

  • Lower intake of sugar (most of the cane sugar is refined through activated charcoal, most of which comes from animal bones)

  • Normal hormonal balance

However, there are several vitamins and minerals which can go low if you’re on a vegan diet, so down below I will write down on which nutrition you should pay more attention and where you can find them.

B12

“…are needed by all vegans, and also by EVERYONE over the age of 50, no matter their diet. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause nasty side effects such as anemia, nerve damage, heart disease or pregnancy complications…” – vegansociety.com

You can find it in plant-based kinds of milk, breakfast cereals, yogurts, spreads, yeast extracts, and nutritional yeast products where is added vitamin B12.

A supplement is another option.

Protein

“…Grains and pulses are good plant-based protein sources. Seitan, aka wheat gluten, contains just as much protein, if not more, than a beef steak. And, like fellow protein-rich foods tempeh and tofu, it can be bought cheaply as mock meat from Asian supermarkets. “

“…A diet comprising a variety of plant protein sources will include all the essential amino acids you need. There are a few plant-based foods which contain all the essential amino acids, namely soya, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth (‘complete’ proteins). But you don’t need to eat complete proteins at each meal. Your body can store and combine the essential amino acids. So stick to a balanced diet, and you’ll be fine.” – vegansociety.com

You can find protein in different kind of beans – chickpeas, lentils -, soy products (milk, tofu, tempeh etc.)

Nuts – mostly in almonds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios

Seeds – sesame, pumpkin, sunflower

Grains – wheat, oats, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, amaranth, pasta, bread, seitan

Omega 3

Good sources are some nuts and seeds (walnuts, flax, hemp, chia, mustard) Flax and chia seeds should be grounded to absorb as many nutrients as possible.

You can use rapeseed (canola) oil as well.

In some products, omega-3 is added as extra.

Iron

“It’s straightforward to obtain enough iron when you eat a rainbow of lightly processed vegetables, fruits and other whole plant foods each day. In fact, research has shown that vegans have average iron intakes that are similar to or higher than those of non-vegans, and higher than the recommended daily allowance.” – vegansociety.com

You can find it in legumes, dried fruits, whole grains, nuts & seeds, green leafy vegetables, potatoes.

As well you can find it in soy, parsley, watercress, edible seaweeds, dark chocolate etc.

Iodine

“Iodine is a slightly challenging mineral. Too little or too much iodine can lead to problems with your thyroid, which controls how your body uses food energy…” – vegansociety.com

You can use supplements or iodized salt (please, check out more information about this mineral and use proper amounts. You can simply click on the added link on top of this)

Calcium

“Calcium is often thought of as a nutrient that helps to keep your bones and teeth strong. It is also involved in your nervous system, blood clotting and controlling your muscles…” – vegansociety.com

Vegan-friendly and good sources are tofu, milk, yogurt alternatives and bread with added calcium

Other options – kale, pak choi, okra, spring greens, dried figs, chia seeds and almonds

 

One of the sources which I used, where you can find the required daily dose and a wider information about vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Ethical aspects

After doing research I came across information about meat, dairy and egg industry, those horrifying footage just got my brain to click and I wasn’t able to look at these products as a food anymore. Cruelty towards these living beings is insane and I don’t want to take a part in to support that anymore. Health reasons are good to try out vegan diet but in long run it might not be enough, because person can be healthy as well on balanced diet where meat, dairy, and eggs are included, so ethical reason is the main aspect to stay vegan, it’s difficult to turn back after getting to know the truth about meat, dairy and egg industries.

“Preventing the exploitation of animals is not the only reason for becoming vegan, but for many, it remains the key factor in their decision to go vegan and stay vegan. Having emotional attachments with animals may form part of that reason, while many believe that all sentient creatures have a right to life and freedom. Specifics aside, avoiding animal products is one of the most obvious ways you can take a stand against animal cruelty and animal exploitation everywhere…” – vegansociety.com

I kindly recommend you to take off that eye shield which these industries have been putting on your eyes (money rolls the world, let’s not forget this) and watch this footage:

Environmental aspects

In general, we try to help our planet and we tend to switch off electricity if not needed, use bikes instead of cars, use fabric grocery bags, buy organic food, recycle and so on. A lot of people are not aware of the damage that is caused by the production of meat and other animal products.

“…The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. In Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans for animals in Europe. This land contributes to developing world malnutrition by driving impoverished populations to grow cash crops for animal feed, rather than food for themselves. On the other hand, considerably lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain a vegan diet, making the switch to veganism one of the easiest, most enjoyable and most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment…”- vegansociety.com

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[Infographic: From Mercy For Animals website]

I want to share with you, reader, also my personal opinion about veganism. I will be able to give larger perspective after some time since fully I have been into it only from the end of December 2016 (doing research, trying out some vegan products, restaurants etc. since June 2016)

However, I have been into a healthy lifestyle since 2011 and I can find benefits for myself even after so short time switching to a vegan diet. I am not a lower of cooking, but veganism provoked interest in cooking. I have tried out different recipes and even more opened up my imagination because I like experimenting with different tastes, now I have even bigger urge to try out new things.

I included in my diet even more legumes, beans, grains – whole foods in general. I discovered a lot of products, I started to cook more, to do more research about things, to find new places and things in relation to veganism, met like-minded people, started to care even more about animals and I try to help them in ways I can care even more about our planet, I have more energy, so I have more power to do things I love. I am happy that with my actions I can help the planet and living beings.

In following posts, in this section, I will write how to go vegan, some review about vegan products, brands, vegan clothing, shoes, make up products, also some recipes, but this is not and probably won’t be a vegan recipes blog, it is meant to be more informative, but will see, time will tell, I don’t have cravings for becoming a “guru” in the kitchen, but who knows haha… So about vegan lifestyle in general.

My food photos and ingredients you can check out on my Instagram account if you’re interested.

So I hope to see you in my next posts!

Some sites for useful information which I would advice you to check out:

www.vegansociety.com

www.vegan.com

www.veganhealth.org

nutrition.org

Movies/videos  and documentaries to watch:

Books:

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