Why I believe animals deserve a higher place in modern society

This is a subject that usually causes a riot when discussed. A lot of people are against this idea, because it’s their believe that animals don’t have feelings and are put on this earth for humans to dominate and use them and to rule over their lives. Most humans believe they are at the top of the food chain.

However, there are also those who do believe in this statement. I’m one of those people and I strongly believe animals should have a higher place in modern society.

First of all, I don’t believe people even have a higher place in society than animals. We’re an arrogant specie, entitling ourselves to be superior over other species and dumbing animals down, claiming they don’t have feelings and are worthless to society, other than providing food and needs for humans. I always wonder why humans believe they are at the top of the food chain. We’re not faster or stronger than a great deal of animals. Yes, we humans have a great deal of intelligence at our disposal. But then again we’re also the only species who are bent on killing the very planet that sustains all life. Intelligence is relative.

Also, animals don’t have a voice to speak up for themselves, so I believe humans should do that for them. Do I think animals should rule human society? No, I don’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to kill, abuse, starve, torture and slaughter other living creatures. It’s illegal to kill another human being, but somehow it’s okay to kill and harm animals, as if that’s any less worse. It’s an illusion that our treatment of animals has no moral significance.

Finally, animals are not ours, animals are not things. They are living creatures, just like humans. Animals actually do have feelings. By not responding on the torture that’s going on, we actually do respond. We are equally responsible for what we don’t do. To me, it’s not about if animals can reason or talk, but about the question “Can they suffer?”.

I want to believe in Leonardo da Vinci’s wish: that one day the time will come when men will look upon the murder and harm of animals as they now look upon the murder of men. And if slaughterhouses and factory farms would have glass walls, would you still be able to look an animal in the eyes and say you can’t see the pain we humans are causing? Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.

How to make your own vitamin water

Vitamins and water, they are both extremely good for you. But if you are like me, you don’t get enough of neither of them.

I like water, it doesn’t bother me that it has no real taste, but I usually just forget to drink it. Same with vitamins, which are mostly found in fruits and vegetables. I like fruit, all kinds of fruit, but I usually just forget to eat them (and OK, to be honest, I’m also a bit lazy when it comes to peeling fruits. Yeah, I know, it’s absurd, but it’s true. Give me some non-peelable fruits, like berries, and I’m fine. But well yeah, berries aren’t in season every day of the year…).

So when I saw bottled vitamin water in the grocery store, I was in awe. Such a clever idea; combining the two things everyone knows that they’re good for you and make them into something easy to consume and easy to take with you. But I’m not a big fan of plastic bottles… Neither am I of all the additional stuff, like flavors and colors. So I passed them by and the idea kind of went in to the back of my mind.

As I mentioned before, peelable fruits, like oranges and lemons, usually go to waste around here, and passing by the fruit bowl, glancing at it out of the corner of my eye, always made me feel a bit guilty. Such a waste of such perfect fruits… So I began thinking about other ways to use up all that fruit, besides just eating it. I already made a lot of smoothies out of bananas and kiwis, and some of the oranges made it to become juice. But there was still plenty of fruit left. And that was when the memory of the vitamin water came to mind!

Homemade, no additional stuff, no preservatives, no plastic bottles and super easy to make.

Here’s how:

  • Take the fruits of your choice (I picked lemons and oranges)
  • Slice the fruits into rounds and cut those rounds into half
  • Place the whole shebang into a pitcher
  • Fill the pitcher with water (you can also add ice if you like to)
  • Bruce the fruits a little with the back of a wooden spoon
  • Set in the fridge for at least 4 hours
  • Enjoy!

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Homemade vitamin water

You can also add herbs if you like. For instance, cucumber, lemon and mint might be a great combination for a refreshing drink during summer times. Or if you like your drink to be a bit more on the sweet side, try mixing up some variation of berries (if you would like your drink to have a bit of a pinch to it, squeeze in the juice of 2 limes and then just toss the limes in to the pitcher).

So, what kind of homemade vitamin water mixture would you make?

Getting rid of my sugar addiction

Sugar, I’m truly sorry, but we have to say goodbye. I love you Sugar, perhaps a little bit too much. Our relationship is no longer adding anything to my life. In fact, it’s doing more harm than good. I wish you the best, but I have to go now.

My sugar addiction was getting out of hand. I could easily eat a big bag of M&M’s, a whole bag of cookies and some other stuff in one day. Yes, just one day, every day … I was craving sugar for most of the day and was getting restless if I didn’t had access to it.

Eating too much sugar has been a problem ever since I was a teenager. I would eat bags and bags of sweets in just a few hours. No one would ever suspect me of a sugar addiction, unless they have seen me eaten, because I’m really skinny and I never gain a single pound, despite the amounts of food I’m consuming.

Eating less sugar has never been something I was looking forward to. I love sweets and chocolate and when I feel bad I rather eat a candy bar than an apple or something. I like fruit as well, but somehow candy always was my first choice.

So why quit eating so much sugar when you like it? Because man, I was feeling horrible! I was tired most of the time and only got a temporary sugar rush after eating some candy. Also I’m pretty sure that my mood swings have something to do with the overkill of sugar I take.

Yesterday I mostly ate healthy stuff. I had a nice breakfast, ate some fruit, drank only one soda and a lot of tea and even made myself a salad and some freshly squeezed juice. I did managed to trick myself into thinking it was OK to eat some candy … The addict in me still want sugar.

Today, I’m feeling horrible. I’m so tired and I feel like I’m getting the flu or something. I looked up what the withdrawal symptoms of quitting sugar are, and getting really tired is one of them. So I guess it’s just something I have to get through.

Some other withdrawal symptoms are cravings, anxiety and depression, and a general sense of loss when the addictive substance is not used. I’m looking forward to it … not.

So why stop? Because it’s killing you, slowly, from the inside out. You can get diabetes, heart diseases, you can get fat, get emotional troubles etcetera. Yes, I like sugar. Pff, I LOVE sugar, but the amount of sugar I’m taking will not do me anything good.

I don’t want to scan every label to see if there’s sugar in something, so I’m just going with not buying candy and no sugar in my tea anymore. It seems like not much, but the candy is my main problem. I’m pretty sure it will be a struggle to kick the addiction and replace the candy with some more healthy snacks, but I need to do it.

If you want to get rid of your sugar addiction as well, start now, not tomorrow. If it’s too much for you to go cold turkey, start with small steps, like no more sugar in your coffee, no more soda or, if candy is not that big of a deal for you, no more candy. Eating less sugar will make you healthier and will make you feel better eventually. Eating less is better than not doing anything at all.

Getting Rapunzel-like hair

Every time I go to the hairdresser, the boyfriend is saying the same thing: “Don’t cut it off, OK?” He loves loves loves long hair, and so do I! But when I’m at the hairdresser, looking at all those cute short hairstyles, I have the tendency to cave in and think: “ Who cares?! My hair will grow back on again.” And so I let it get cut off … and regret it when I come home … I guess that because my hair isn’t that long (just above my shoulders) it’s easier to cut it off. If I would have really long hair it would be a lot harder, I’m pretty sure about that. But I really want long hair, I just never had the patient to let it grow. So boyfriend, this must be your lucky day: I’m finally ready to let my hair grow.

My hair is 31 centimeters long (that’s 12,2 inches). So, how I’m going to get it to grow long(er)?

Step 1: I’ve visited my hairdresser. Yes, I started growing my hair by cutting it off. Not that much, just the split ends, so I have a fresh start to start growing my hair.

Step 2: Resist the temptation of coloring my hair! I’ve colored my hair for years, and stopped doing it a while ago. There is no hair dye in my hair anymore right now, but when I see a picture of a girl with beautiful red hair, I have to hold myself back not to run to the drugstore and get some hair dye.

Step 3: Pick up on the No ‘Poo method again. I was no ‘poo for a long time, but when I went on a long holiday I got lazy and started using regular shampoo again. I also started using regular conditioner again because I wasn’t satisfied with the apple cider vinegar as a conditioner. I will stop using regular conditioner, but instead I’ll be putting some serum in my hair after washing it. Not because my hair is unable to get through with a brush when there isn’t something like a conditioner or serum in it, but just because I like my hair better when there is. Yes, I’m sooo vain …

Step 4: Eat healthy. I know, easier said than done. I’m a huge sugar addict. While writing this, I already ate seven little chocolates. So it’s another lucky day for the boyfriend, because he’s been nagging me for months now to start eating more healthy (and I know, he’s saying it because he cares … and he’s right, I should eat healthier). But what foods while help you grow healthier hair (better hair seems like a good motivation to me for eating healthier :P)? Think about nuts (especially walnuts and almonds) and milk, stuff with vitamin B in it (like bananas, spinach and potatoes) and food with folic acids in them (tomatoes, citrus fruits, beans, lentils and whole grain products). I know fish, meat and poultry are also major sources of B-12, but that’s one step to far for a vegetarian like me. Don’t forget to eat some protein. You can find protein in products like lean meat, eggs and soy products. And if you want to be really sure that you get everything you need: take a multivitamin. Basically it just comes down to: eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Cliché? Yes. True? Most likely.

Step 5: Don’t go to the hairdresser anymore. Years ago, my hair was the longest and healthiest it had ever been. Back then, I never went to see a hairdresser. Every once in a while, I would just cut off the ends of my hair myself and my hair was looking great. I hate going to the hairdresser: it’s expensive and my hair rarely turns out the way I wanted it to be. So bye bye hairdresser, I’ll just be cutting my hair myself when I think I have to. Really, there’s no use in seeing a hairdresser every six weeks when you want to grow your hair longer. Hair only grows approximately half an inch per month. By cutting your hair every six weeks it will take for ever to grow your hair longer. So, just judge for yourself when you think it’s time to cut your hair. If you notice your hair is getting dry at the ends or the ends are splitting, it might be time to cut them off.

And last but not least: some quick 101’s for getting healthier hair:

  • Don’t use hot water to wash and rinse your hair. Instead, go for cooler water (it doesn’t has to be ice-cold, just don’t use steaming hot water).
  • When you dry your hair, don’t rub it with a towel. It will damage your hair.
  • Never brush wet hair! Because wet hair is stretchier it has a tendency to snap. Use a wide toothed comb instead.
  • Don’t use too much hair products, they will dry out your hair.
  • Let your hair dry naturally when you can. If you do need to use a blow dryer or straightening iron, don’t forget to use a heat protector on your hair.
  • Don’t brush your hair too much. Two times a day is enough.
  • Don’t wash your hair every single day.
  • Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase–cotton pillowcases make hair look dry; they suck out the moisture and can cause frizz.
  • If you notice your hair is becoming dry, wash it less frequently, so the natural oil balance can be restored.

Don’t get upset when your hair just doesn’t seems to get any longer. Be patient, it takes a while.

Once-a-Month Grocery Shopping

Usually I go to the supermarket a few times a week. I always buy things I don’t need and, shame on me, most of the food gets thrown away because I didn’t used it. I’m not a big fan of spending lots of money on groceries, and I always try to set a budget for myself, but I usually fail. So I went online to search for some tips on how to spend less on grocery shopping and I found something I at first thought wasn’t possible: Only go once a month to the supermarket to do your groceries. Once a month?! I mean, once a week, OK. Once every two weeks, maybe. But ONCE A MONTH?! How?!

Well now, before I was about to have a panic attack, I did some more research. The trick is to eat all the fresh products in the first two weeks of the month. Because I also want to eat veggies and fruits in the second part of the month, I decided to go with veggies and fruits that have a bit of a longer lifespan when stored correctly.

Well, wonderful, only go grocery shopping once a month, but what about the budget? Please, I ask you to sit down (if you have severe heart problems, you might want to stop reading).

The budget for one month of groceries for two people:

€50,00 (that’s something like 63,00 USD and 40,00 GBP)

So, here’s my menu for the entire month and the grocery list I’ve made. Stuff I already have lying around in my cabinets are not on the grocery list of course. Also you can see (or can’t see actually) that there’s no cat food or litter on the list. I already have those at home and order them in bulk when I run out. My shopping list is divided into three categories: Albert Heijn (it’s a big Dutch supermarket), C1000 (another big Dutch supermarket) and at the bottom you see some products about which I wasn’t sure where to buy them, so I’ll just check in the stores to see if they have a good deal.

Of course, there are more than two kinds of supermarkets in the Netherlands, but these two are the closest to my house and after some research (yes, I even did some online research for every supermarket in the area to see if they had any sweet deals to offer) I came to the conclusion that going to another supermarket for only one or two products would cost me more on benzine, which harms the environment and my wallet.

Monthly menu:

Week 1

  • Monday: Rice with cucumber, peanut sauce and vega meatballs
  • Tuesday: Baked potatoes and green beans
  • Wednesday: Lasagna
  • Thursday: Endive stew with vega meatballs
  • Friday: Soup
  • Saturday: Wraps with avocado, lettuce, vega meat, pine nuts, tomato
  • Sunday: Rice with vega meat and scraps

Week 2

  • Monday: Potatoes with green beans and applesauce
  • Tuesday: Wraps with pineapple, paprika, beans and vega cheese
  • Wednesday: Rice with pineapple, green beans and vega meat
  • Thursday: Broccoli stew with pine nuts
  • Friday: Soup
  • Saturday: Kebab sandwich with lettuce, vega kebab and sauce
  • Sunday: Pasta with vega meat and tomato sauce

Week 3

  • Monday: Baked potatoes with lettuce, tomato and pine nuts
  • Tuesday: Wraps with tomato, cheese and vega kebab
  • Wednesday: Fried rice with peanut sauce
  • Thursday: Sauerkraut stew with mandarins
  • Friday: Soup
  • Saturday: Pancakes
  • Sunday: Pasta with scraps

Week 4

  • Monday: Potatoes with baked beans and applesauce
  • Tuesday: Bread
  • Wednesday: Wraps with paprika, vega meat, rice, apple
  • Thursday: French bean stew with cashew nuts
  • Friday: Soup
  • Saturday: Pancakes
  • Sunday: Leftovers

Grocery list:

Albert Heijn

  • Canned pineapple (AH Pineapple slices in heavy syrup for € 0.61)
  • Kebab rolls (Euro Shopper Shoarma Rolls 8 pcs € 0.58)
  • Canned mandarin (Euro Shopper Mandarins in light syrup for € 0.75)
  • Bread (AH 2 whole loaves for € 2.00)
  • 1 kg pack bread mix (Euro Shopper Breadmix multigrain 1 kilo to € 1,77)
  • Lemonade (AH Dubbelfris 1.5 liter 3 pieces for € 1,79)
  • Spreads (AH Peanut butter 600 grams for € 1.74)
  • Satay (peanut sauce microwave Remia AH 265 ml € 0.97)
  • Tomato sauce (pasta sauce Sugo AH herbs € 0.96)
  • Soup 4 meals (AH soup for € 0.66 and Unox soup for € 0.78)
  • Lasagna (AH Italian lasagna (2-3 persons) € 1.80)
  • Yogurt (AH yoghurt 1 liter € 0.68)
  • Custard (AH chocolate/vanilla 1 liter € 0.81)
  • Vega meatballs 2 meals (AH Vega balls for € 2.59)
  • Vega chopped 6 meals (AH pure & honest organic tofu meat for € 1.99)
  • Soy milk (Alpro AH Original for € 1.25)
  • Paprika (AH paprika red/green/yellow for € 1.49)
  • Brocoli (AH Broccoli for € 0.65)
  • Lettuce (AH Lettuce for € 0.59)
  • Avocado (Avocado AH for 1 piece € 0.99)
  • Sauerkraut (AH Sauerkraut natural for € 0.59)
  • Pancake mix 2x (AH pancake mix for € 0.54)
  • Carrots (AH Carrots for € 0.99)
  • Wraps (Tortilla Wraps AH 12 pieces for € 2.18)
  • Canned white beans in tomato sauce (AH beans, can € 0.59)
  • Green beans (AH Green beans for € 2.49)

Total: € 34.81

C1000

  • Endive (Endive C1000 400 grams € 1.00)
  • Tomato (250 gram C1000 for € 0.69)
  • Apples (C100 Braeburn apples, Granny Smith or Royal Gala, 1 kg for € 1.00)

Total: € 2.69

Remaining products:

  • Bag of potatoes
  • Jar of applesauce 2x
  • Vega kebab
  • String beans
  • Cashew nuts
  • Fruit on sale
  • Lemon
  • 4x a treat

Total: Max. € 12.50