5 Months on a Plant Based Diet

 

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The 1st of August marked the 5 months since I have stopped consuming animal products. Looking back on the journey so far, there were a few discoveries made and lessons learnt, so I thought I’ll share a few things that might be of some value to you.

WHY

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First and foremost, knowing and reminding yourself why you are doing this is very important. For me, it was a health condition – realising that things are not working as they are and some major changes are needed. I have heard about the benefits of a plant based diet before but somehow did not think it was my kind of thing. That afternoon at the doctors gave me motivation and the reason why. Knowing why you are doing this, is at the core of change. Cause if you don’t know WHY it’s always going to be that one night when everybody’s having Domino’s or that one person who says oh com’on one burger means nothing anyway or you deserve this tub of Haagen Dazs and you just cave in. But knowing your WHY is what keeps you going, gives you that higher purpose and the reason behind you sticking to your choice. It is different for everyone and it might be personal, health or ethical reasons or maybe all of them but it’s important to have the reason for doing this.

WHAT TO EAT THEN

Preparation is key. Experimenting is also key – being open to trying new things. You can actually eat so much and it is important to eat. Vegetables are, in general, lower in calories than animal products and you will need to have bigger portions to feel satiated and make sure you meet your caloric needs. I have been making sure to eat big portions and eat until I am full. The main discovery for me was the number of different varieties of BEANS there are in this world (who knew?!) and that some of them taste much better than others. It’s important to have complex carbs and not limit yourself to having salads only. Beans, potatoes (all different variates), brown rice, mushrooms, quinoa, chia seeds, buckwheat, lentils, rice noodles, tofu, tempeh and I could go on and on. Instagram is a great source of vegan meal inspirations and the key is to try and make all different foods, make sure to season your food, experiment with dressings and you will see how this type of cooking opens your eyes to a whole new way of eating.

WHEN YOU GO OUT

Going out was probably the hardest to figure out, and I am definitely still learning all the above mentioned points as well but one good thing is you will probably be less tempted to go out as the food you prepare at home will taste so great, you will not want (or trust) the food that’s not been prepared by you, however, all the places you go, there is a high chance they already have vegan meal on the menu or if not, you can veganise it – ask to take the dressing out, take cheese out, etc. With a little more thought, planning and research it is definitely doable (I managed to have vegan meals in places like Wendy’s and Nando’s).

And finally, the positives I have seen in the past 5 months:

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Skin – I have actually had the clearest skin in years, no more hormonal breakouts on the chin, jaw line and/or forehead.

Bloating – significantly reduced (even eating more beans, does not give you gas, if you eat them consistently, something to do with the right type of bacteria building up in your gut that helps not only digest the beans but also improves your overall health in various different ways).

Energy – I did experience increase in energy overall as well as the disappearance of the sluggish feelings after meals even after consuming carb based meals twice a day.

Weight – steady and slow weight loss even though my portions were huge for the past five months.

Money – it does work out cheaper. For example – a bag of beans is £1.50 and you’re good for a week, rather than spending £15 on salmon.

Overall, there is still a lot to learn through trial and error, but the below resources have been an immense help. Plant based diet is definitely something to try if you suffer from any ailment as the evidence is eye opening and promising. I encourage you to find your motivation, your WHY and give it a try.

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The China Study by Dr Colli T Campbell

The Cheese Trap by Dr Neil D Barnard

How Not To Die by Dr Michael Greger

Thank you so much for reading, please share your thoughts!

Rita

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DIY Manicure

It feels very therapeutic to take timeout to do your nails. However, it might as well be quite stressful if you mess it up seconds after doing them. The key is probably finding the right products to address whatever is causing you to stray away from doing your nails to turn this ritual into a positive, relaxing experience

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Here is how I have been doing my nails recently, I know it’s not perfect and I never remove the cuticles and try to keep the shape more or less even, but don’t really obsess over it, it’s just too much hassle, but I always make sure to apply base coat and a top coat and if one nail breaks, then I have to file all of them to the more or less even length.

STEP 1

I start removing whatever left over nail polish I might have on and filing the nails to achieve a uniform shape. Even if I don’t have nail polish I make sure to go over the nails with a cotton pad soaked in nail polish remover, to get rid of any oils, residue, etc that can hinder the longevity of the nail colour. I find that his step preps the nail and somewhat helps to go that extra day chip free. My nail polish removed of choice is any acetone free and Cutex is the one I go for, because it does the job without drying the nails too much.

STEP 2

The base coat. It is very important to not only help the colour stick better, it protects the nails from going yellow (from wearing too much dark polish), conditions, strengthens and prolongs the colour. The one I am currently using is this Nails Inc primer/ridge filler which also doubles up as a natural nail polish if you apply 2 coats which is a good option when you want to skip steps 3 and 4.

STEP 3

Nail colour – any really, I have no preference over any brand, some brushes are a bit ore convenient than others but essentially they all do the job, so I just pick the colour I like and I never apply more or less than 2 coats. This Revlon colour is supposed to be scented but I honestly couldn’t care less if it is, I would never smell my nails and the only thing I was drawn to was the colour and this cute bottle.

STEP 4 

Top coat – this step is the most important. Gone are the days where you have to sit for 30 minutes after painting. I really liked the Sally Hansen Insta Dry and repurchased it multiple times, but now I am using the Seche Vite Dry  and it is equally good if not better. The top coat was such a game changer for me. It actually encourages me to do my nails, especially when you are good to go almost immediately after applying that top coat.

STEP 5

Cuticle oil and hand cream is very important. Especially if you have dry skin and we all tend to have dry hands in winter especially.

What are your tips for best DIY manicure?

Lots of Love!

Daily Tools for Better Life

I love to imagine myself as one of those cool people who sit in a cafe and type away on their laptops sipping a cup of coffee. When taking a break from the laptop they open one of their fancy, cool looking diaries or planners and tick off things on a to do list.. That’s the picture I have been fascinated with for years, buying new diaries come every new year and of course, not using them. Then, every year end just end up throwing them out and promising myself the next year will be different and what actually happens is that my new pretty diary collects dust month after month.

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Image via Pinterest

I realise the solution is not to buy a better diary every year but perhaps having enough self disciple to actually use one. However, it often feels quite overwhelming looking at the blank page and not knowing what to do with it. Plan out my day, plan my year, plan my moods, make a to do list.. Where does one start implementing these new things they want to achieve? Too many options and too many scattered ideas that never get seen through.

However, this year one of the things I definitely wanted to do is to get more structure into my day and was looking for means to do so. And although the task of planning out your days/weeks does indeed look daunting, it actually gets easier once you start. And the thing is, if you’re like me, and postpone planning because you want to use a certain pen or want to write but are not sure if your handwriting is nice enough for the notebook (I have those though all the time..) just remember that this diary/notebook/planner is here to serve YOU, not the other way around. So take this as an opportunity to experiment and learn about what works for you.

I have been using 3 tools for the past few months: two notebooks and an app. Might seem a bit excessive for someone who could not use 1 diary, but it’s like having different shoes for different occasions, you need more than one.. Hear me out:

First thing is a plain notebook that I use during my morning routine and I write in it for 5 to 10 minutes. What gets written depends on my mood and circumstances, I try and make it as positive as possible, so it would be an abstract combination of affirmations, things I want to achieve and a prayer. I try and fill a page of an A5 notebook and find that once all these positive thoughts and intentions are on paper, it’s somehow more real and sets a tone for a better day.

Then, the 5 Minute Journal App, I have set a reminder for the app on my phone which I try and fill out after I make my coffee in the morning. It’s essentially a gratitude journal in an app form: you fill it out in the morning: 3 things you’re grateful for, 3 things that will make today great and an intention for the day; and in the evening (I do it as a last thing before turning the lights off): 3 amazing things that happened today and 1 thing how you could have made today better. It’s really great, helps to carry the momentum from filling out the notebook and define the things I will focus on that particular day and it’s a great closure for the day as it kind of sets the tone for the following morning.

And last but not least it’s the Dear Diary planner. This year as every year, I was looking the prettiest diary, the only difference is that I am actually using it! (tap on the back for myself for that.) The planner itself is beautiful. But most importantly, it’s a structured system for achieving your goals. It has week to view but as well as that, little boxes to tick to track your habits and set out the goals for the week. There are little perks at the end of every week – a weekly overview and (something you could find in a glossy magazine) useful tips, recipes, or general insight into a topic. And I LOVE that, it makes me look forward to completing the whole week so I get a little reward Sunday evening when looking back on the past week and planning out the next one.

I scan over it in the morning while having breakfast after I am done with my gratitude app to make sure I have all my personal to do things in it and to start off a productive day. I make sure to tick off the habits that I have been sticking to and goals I have achieved every evening.

The great thing is, the system is actually working. And for someone who is obsessing over the right handwriting and spelling, get this erasable pen from Amazon, so you can erase the mistake(s) and keep the tidy looking journal.

Let me know what works for you and how to you keep on top of your day?

Lots of Love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gloomy Day Saviours

 

So this is the current situation outside. Miserable to say the least, however it’s Saturday (yay!). Do you also feel like it’s nice and sunny during the weekdays but come weekend and of course it starts raining and/or snowing..

However, winter in London is almost over and I am so so excited! And this weather is not going to get the better out of me because although I have to stay indoors I have a plan how to still enjoy today.

 

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To catch up on my reading list – printed media might seem outdated but there is nothing better than cuddling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a Vogue. I love the aesthetics and the feeling of holding an actual printed magazine. It’s nice to submerge yourself in an article and spend that 30 minutes to an hour just enjoying yourself. I also got Aimee Song’s Capture Your Style recently and have been loving it. Aimee’s personality shines through her writing and the book is really pretty to go on your coffee table.

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To reflect and plan the week ahead – over the weekend I like to take time to reflect on the past week – the great things that happened and not so great things and think what I could have done differently. Also take time to plan the week ahead, think about what I want to achieve and what I want to get done at work, at home and etc. This Dear Diary planner that I got for this year has little weekly treats that I like to try and implement the following week. This week’s one is to give small acts of kindness.

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To plan my holiday – this spring I am finally going to America!!! Cannot wait and I have never flown over the Atlantic. So of course, I have already started making the list of things to see, to do, to eat and of course to buy. I am going to Boston and to New York, so any recommendations would be really appreciated:)

On a rainy snowy day, daydreaming and planning are my two favourite things to do, it takes you from your reality and brings to the sunny and warm place you want to be..

Hope you are all having a lovely Saturday.

Lots of love!

 

So, do you wanna look pretty or do you wanna seem clever?

 

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Have you ever heard something  similarly ridiculous being said to your face or behind your back? I bet we all did, no?

Oh, she’s wearing so much make up, must be really shallow.

Look at this bookworm, she should sort out that skin of hers.

You are paying so much attention to your clothes, you know it’s not that important, there are kids who have nothing to eat.

Are you gonna wear that???

Your friend is more beautiful than you.

Your friend is better at maths than you.

Your lipstick might give a wrong impression to the boys.

He hit her? She must have asked for it, you know how annoying she can be.

Our society is full of crippling opinions, where girls are being put in a boxes and told that as a girl you cannot put certain make up on, have interest in fashion and still want to get a PHD. You are being told that your clothes are distracting the boys. Being constantly compared to your friends and judged on your looks, your smartness and your choices

But it’s time for a change and lot’s have changed since Beyonce confirmed that girls run this world, feminism is not a dirty word anymore and even the House of Dior put it on their T-shirt this season (like the one in the above picture and I want one of these so so bad). In light of recent events in the world there is a major breakthrough: the gender pay gap  (men in senior positions still earn 20% more than women in the same senior position) is being closed and the western world is talking about the future being female. We are dusting off the old approach where we were divided and conquered by the society (constantly telling us to compete against each other, that our friend is going to steal our boyfriend) and coming together to support each other to stand up for each other to empower each other.

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And if your relationships with your friends are not inspiring and empowering, maybe it’s worth thinking if you are with the right crowd, cause you know, you are as good as the 5 closest people around you.

Lets continue to support, to inspire each other and to move forward so we have a better tomorrow and no one will ever say that we cannot be somebody. There should be women’s march every month!

Lots of love!

 

 

Images via Pinterest

Self Care #4 Mind

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We are our biggest enemies – that’s something we all probably heard before and can somewhat relate to. Self love is one of the aspects that help to keep your mind in check. But as well as that, there are some daily habits that can make a huge difference to your mood, outlook on life and relationships.

Practise gratitude – you can think of three things you are grateful for every morning first thing you wake up or even better – write them down in a gratitude journal or a gratitude app. And do the same in the evening – three or more great things that happened today and you feel grateful for. It’s great for your mind. To constantly remind yourself that we are surrounded by amazing things, people and opportunities

Meditate – or practise silence. There are so many different ways of doing it: guided meditation, chanting, eyes closed or open.. Pick one that you feel most comfortable with. I like the silent meditation, where you are trying to focus on your breath and clear your mind of any thoughts. It might sounds like some hippie thing you’re not really into, but once you get over that and give it a shot, it will be worth while. Just sit down comfortably, follow your breath and DO NOT THINK. It’s amazing how many thoughts will come to you at first. It’s like they rush to your mind at 100 mph and try to compete which one is going to make it first.. And once you try your best to sit still for these 10 minutes a day, it magically alleviates not only the mind chatter but has a multitude other proven benefits, like lower stress levels, better mood, sleep and etc.

Do you practise any of the above?

Thank you for reading.

 

Much love!

 

 

Images via Pinterest

Things They Don’t Teach at School

Graduating from school was the best feeling ever. You’re on top of the world, exciting to leave this education institution that prepared you for life and all you want to do now is go and be a grown up. But then you go off to college/uni, move away from home and realise that you are such a novice at living life. Mendeleev’s Periodic Table, amoeba reproduction and other random things you’ve learned and got A from the tests don’t matter anymore.. So you have to learn again. A few things I wish they thought as at school that would have made my adult life better:

  1. How to manage finances – do they ever mention how important it is to save money, to put aside certain percentage when you get paid? Or the negative impact overdraft and  maxed out credit card has on your credit rating? How APR is worked out and what it essentially means?!
  2. The importance of dreaming big – how not to settle for mediocracy and have dreams that scare you. And be brave enough to pursue them.
  3. Social skills – things to say in a job interview; how to participate in a conversation; how to meet the right people and things to never say to your boss in the pub .
  4. How to get over a loss/breakup – or the right way to break up with someone. Everyone looses someone in their life, so the stages of getting over it, or helping to cope should be essential and can help avoid going to therapy.
  5. The importance of self love – how worthy and special you are and how you should treat yourself with respect and don’t let anyone take advantage.
  6. Human/Animal rights – the importance of respecting every living being and that we are all the same and no one is better that anyone.
  7. How to tell that a guy/girl is NOT right for you – the one that says all the right things but never does the right things.
  8. How to be grateful – and the importance of practising it.
  9. How to care for the environment – the impact plastic bottles, diapers, meat industry  has on climate change.
  10. How to defend yourself – especially for women, a few good moves in a PE class would go a long way..

What are the things you wish they thought you at school?

Thank you for reading.

Lots of love!