A positive spin on 2016 (if you can believe it)

I feel as though 2016 will be known as the devil year for a very long time. So many terrible things have happened in the past 12 months, I’m unable to keep count of them. I found myself lost in thought on a train a few weeks back and started to think of positive things that have happened to me this year and without meaning to brag, it really hasn’t been THAT BAD. In many ways, this year has ruined me. So much has happened and everything in my life has changed. Thankfully, some of the events of 2016 have been fantastic and it’s always better to focus on the positives. So here are some of the nicer things that happened to me during this Black Mirror year…

I left England for the very first time,

Sadly, until I was 21 years old I’d spent my entire life in the UK. For years I’d been desperate to get out but time, money and a fear of the unknown held me back. It wasn’t until February of this year that I finally hopped on a flight to Budapest. I was what can only be describe as a fear-ridden zombie walking through the airport, I cried on the plane, the air hostess had to calm me down. It was all very embarrassing, particularly after ten minutes in which I realised flying is nothing to be worried about, if anything it’s pretty boring. Not to mention, the Hunger Games is hard to enjoy when you can see a woman in your peripherals praying you won’t have a panic attack.

I stepped off the plane expecting the air to feel different, inhaled deeply and my nose filled with the stench of fuel. In the same holiday I travelled over to Vienna; went ice-skating, fell and cut my head open. I had to get stitches and acted as though they were amputating my leg. It was definitely a holiday for firsts.

 

I decided to try out veganism…

…and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I finally have a healthy relationship with food and I feel so much better in myself. It may sound silly because for many people veganism is simply not eating animal products but I feel as though it changes your everyday life, it’s inspired me to be healthier and aware of what I’m putting in my body (unfortunately meaning I’m also more aware of all of the bad stuff!) Veganism has undoubtedly had a positive impact on my life and has introduced an abundance of fantastic food into my very accepting tummy (I love you tofu scramble, never leave me.)

 

I got published by Cosmopolitan,

Fast forward to April and I had my first internship at Cosmopolitan Magazine. It was quite literally a dream come true and the entire experience was unreal. Particularly when they decided to publish my work! If you fancy having a nose at it, click here.

 

I faced many fears, 

When I started University I was hit with a crippling angst and for years I purposefully avoided events, activities and people. I dodged absolutely everything I could, whether it was the dentist or simple activities like swimming. .

This year I entered in the sea for the first time since I was 8 years old, I went to one of the biggest (scariest) waterparks in the world AND I even visited the dentist without crying. I know that these are simple everyday tasks but after years of not even being able to be myself in a room full of my friends – I’m so proud of where I’m at.
I spent a FANTASTIC weekend at Boomtown with my pals,

I’d just returned home after spending 4 years away from Rugby and drifting away from so many of my friends. Being able to spend time with them at arguably the best place in the world was unreal. I’m pretty sure I’ve never laughed as much as I did throughout the course of that weekend.
I travelled around Italy with my best gal, 

I’m still in shock that we stuck to a drunken plan, I had been dying to go to Italy since seeing the Lizzie McGuire movie in 2003 and it was even better than I could have imagined. The food was everything. It was undoubtedly one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen and spending time with Jen after a year of living apart was perfect. I literaly think about it every single day, if you ever see me looking at my phone, I’m not contacting anyone, I’m looking at pictures of food from Italy (okay food from everywhere, but they are the closest to my heart.)

 

I went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

and it was AMAZING. Still not over it, probably never will be. I really want to write more about it but I don’t want to be the person who spoils it for you. Nobody deserves that.

 

My blog had it’s year-aversairy

I can’t believe that I’m still posting on this blog nearly a year and a half later. I remember sitting in my third year bedroom, terrified for the future and itching to get some of my angst out. Furiously typing with no idea of where I was going with my babble. I like to think it’s gotten better over time but I’m probably far too self-critical. The main thing is that even though I post every once in a blue moon and spend half my time berating myself for failing to write anything – I’m still here and people are still reading what I have to say. This makes me a very happy person and hopefully in the New Year I will stop neglecting my little blog and develop it further.

 

I think it’s easy to dwell on the harder times in our lives, it’s simpler to get frustrated with what we can’t change and accept that everything is crap. But I truly believe that if we all took five minutes out of our day to think about the brilliant things that happen in our daily lives, we’d all be much happier people.

Happy New Year friends, here’s hoping it’s a good one!

 

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Common Vegan Myths Debunked

I too once uttered the words “I could never be vegan.” 9 months later it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

I’m sure you’re all thinking “oh great, another vegan preaching about something I will never think twice about.” Unfortunately this appears to be a popular opinion and often people are too quick to jump on the anti-vegan bandwagon as opposed to learning more about the movement and considering it as a lifestyle choice. As a child my life revolved around breaded chicken and anything made by Cadbury’s. As I grew older and discovered the dark side to these “treats,” I couldn’t bring myself to participate in the cruel and quite frankly, gross animal agriculture industry. Over the albeit brief time I have been vegan I’ve heard a multitude of complaints and excuses so I thought it was about time I confronted some of these and finally debunked common vegan myths we hear everyday.

“Vegans are protein deficient”

Protein deficiency is incredibly rare in modern society, it is present in a lot of food and it’s shockingly easy to consume an appropriate amount of protein each day from a solely plant-based diet. Here are some examples of protein rich plant based foods. It genuinely confuses me that people still believe that protein is only present in animal-derived products – in 2016. I mean, come on guys.

“Veganism is far too expensive” 

Okay so I can see why people think this is the case. I also walk around Whole Foods questioning who can actually afford to do a food shop there. However, realistically the products that are expensive tend to be meat substitutes which are in no way essential within the vegan diet. Staple foods such as rice, vegetables and pasta are affordable and extremely versatile. Am I going to treat myself to Booja Booja every now and then? Well yes, yes I am. But I definitely don’t need to – and without luxury items such as that, my average food shop is inexpensive. Also, I don’t mean to be catty but I’m sure meat costs a fair bit.

“I enjoy going to restaurants far too much to be vegan”

Veganism does not effect the glorious activity that is eating out. I mean, obviously don’t walk into a steak house and expect a variety of vegan options but there are so many restaurants that cater to the vegan diet. A lot of popular restaurants now have vegan options including Zizzi, Pizza Express and Wagamamas. AND there are a ton of independent cafés and restaurants across the world that have growing, delicious vegan menus. There is also a fantastic website called Happy Cow that gives you vegan options in restaurants from all over the world.
If animals didn’t get killed, the world would be overpopulated” 

Animals are bred for consumption, if more people cut animal products from their diet, breeding would decrease. Thus making overpopulation not even nearly a problem.

“They’re bred to be killed anyway” 

Using this logic, if you impregnated a cat with the intention of killing her kittens, that would be okay. Yes? No. Furthermore the idea that we are breeding anything with the intention of slaughtering needs revising.

We have canines, we’re obviously supposed to eat meat

To begin, there are animals with much bigger canines than us that survive on a purely plant-based diet. Secondly, the fact that we have these does not change the fact that humans can thrive on a plant-based diet. With this in mind, there is literally no reason that we should be killing innocent animals and eating them – other than “bacon is so good though.” *facepalms all over this society we’ve found ourselves in*

“All vegans are health nuts” 

There seems to be an idea that all vegans are mega healthy. That they wake up in the morning, drink a litre of water, do some yoga and eat a watermelon. That is not the case. This diet can be adapted to suit every individual person. If you want to eat 10 bananas for lunch, great, good for you! If you’re more of a 15″ inch pizza with a side of carbonara kind of person (same) then go with that!

“Cows need to be milked”

Cows are the same as any other mammal in that, they need to produce breastmilk to feed their young. To produce Cravendale, a calf is taken away from their mother in order for dairy farmers to take the milk we use. If we were to stop drinking cows’ milk, these poor cows wouldn’t just roam around uncontrollably lactating – they would use their milk to feed their children, as it should be! As an additional point, male calf’s are deemed useless on dairy farms, taken away and killed. PLEASE tell me how this is worth your strawberry milkshake.

Similarly, male chicks are also worthless and are therefore killed shortly after birth. Female chicks are also kept in captivity, treated terribly and killed when they are no longer profitable to farmers.

“We need to test products on animals so that we know they’re safe” 

At this stage in modern society, we’re so advanced that most research is unnecessary and happens purely because of outdated laws stating it must. There are so many products that are no longer tested on animals and companies that use alternative methods for checking the safety of cosmetics and other household items. When it comes to medical research, there are also alternative methods of testing which can totally eliminate the need to use animals, Dr Hadwen Trust is a brilliant charity that  fund research for this and have worked on a range of illnesses such as Leukaemia and Diabetes. There are other options, we do not need to exploit animals for our own gain any longer. 

If you’re interested in turning vegan there are so many helpful websites, books and other resources to make it easier than you can imagine. Also you can always just pop me over a message and I will bestow all of my vegan wisdom upon you – or point you in the direction of someone that has actual wisdom on the matter. Click here to see the presentation that opened my eyes about veganism if you’re interested in learning more!!