Sasieology

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Plant-Based Pause No 29: Find Your Motivation

Posted by Sas on July 22, 2014

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘Become the change you want to see in the world.’ – Gandhi

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This week’s plant-based theme sounds like it could get a bit deep and philosophical, but don’t worry that’s not how it is intended. I believe that we should all understand what motivates us.

If I woke up tomorrow morning in a world where everyone had converted to living a plant-based life, I would be the first to celebrate. However, if we don’t understand why we’re making those changes and the results that they will bring then it won’t work. There has been some talk in the press recently about people converting to a vegan diet because it is fashionable to follow in the footsteps of vegan celebrities. Somer also wrote a brilliant post about this subject over at Vedged Out. Making a lifestyle change because you are copying someone else isn’t going to motivate you, and the changes certainly won’t stick. Instead, we need to educate people about the effects that eating meat and using animals for products has on our species and the planet. By approaching it this way, others will naturally make better choices for the right reasons.

Personally, my initial motivation for becoming plant-based was my own health. I wanted to be fit and healthy. That is still one of my top priorities, although other motivations have been added to the list over time. People tell me their various reasons for not eating meat or adopting certain aspects of plant-based living all the time. Some don’t like to see animals suffer, some want to reduce their carbon footprint and some just don’t like the way the meat industry has evolved into one big factory process line where you’re not even sure which animal you’re eating by the end of it.

If you’re going to go plant-based, don’t just do it because someone told you that you should. Find out why you should, educate yourself about all the great improvements you are going to make. Find your motivation.

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Plant-Based Pause No 28: Out and About

Posted by Sas on July 15, 2014

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.’ – Samuel Johnson

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I’m not going to lie to you, this one is tough. My number one piece of advice to living plant-based is to be prepared. However, with all the will in the world, at some point you are going to find yourself stuck in a service station at 3am that only caters to meat eaters and junk food addicts. Trust me, I’ve been there on a few occasions. This is when you have to employ a skill that many humans in the modern world have forgotten how to use. You have to adapt. Vowing to live completely plant-based, whole food and organic is admirable, but there are times that you have to compromise. Fries are my usual go-to when I’m stuck with nothing suitable to eat and really hungry. They fill you up, and a lot of chain restaurants now also make them gluten-free. I’ve also been known to snack on questionable, lone pieces of remaining fruit in convenience stores and expensive packets of gluten-free pretzels from the pharmacy. In his brilliant book Finding Ultra, Rich Roll talks about resorting to fuelling up on take-out noodles when completing his epic challenges miles from the nearest health food store. It’s not ideal, but sometimes you just have to accept what’s available. And when you return home again, it makes you appreciate fresh veggies even more.

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Travel theme: Decoration

Posted by Sas on July 14, 2014

Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week is Decoration. Unusually for us Brits in July, it’s a subject I’ve actually talked about quite a bit this week. We are in the midst of taking down our World Cup decorations in our office, and preparing to decorate once again for the Commonwealth Games.

We certainly like decoration here in Wales. Whether it’s to celebrate St Davids Day…

Green also features heavily on St David's day - daffodil stems, leeks - more green!

 

 

 

…or jazz up some cakes to raise money for Comic Relief.

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My family in Austria like to decorate too, especially for occasions like my niece and her cousin’s naming ceremony.

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Click here to see more entries from this week’s Travel Theme.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

Posted by Sas on July 13, 2014

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This week’s challenge, happily, took me back to my trip to Italy two years ago. This is one of the 7 bells that live on top of the campanile of the Cathedral Church of Santa Maria Assunta of Pisa, more famously known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Restoration work was being carried out on the bells whilst I was there. Even though we no longer have a practical use for these relics, and they are used purely for the purposes of tradition, we still lovingly restore them and look after them so future generations can hear their beautiful music.

Click here to see more entries from this week’s challenge.

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Plasnewydd Community Garden

Posted by Sas on July 10, 2014

Sas:

Check out this post about our lovely community garden :)

Originally posted on Front Gardens of Cardiff:

A dedicated team of volunteers have created a beautiful communal garden within 10 minutes walk of the city centre in Roath by the Plasnewydd Community Centre. It is an oasis of calm and cheerfulness, with a welcoming spirit.

Sophie and I joined the team on a July Saturday morning to find out about more about the project.

View original 712 more words

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Plant-Based Pause No 27: Visiting the Family

Posted by Sas on July 8, 2014

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus.’ – Susan Longacre

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Whenever you make a big change in your life, your family and close friends will often find it difficult to deal with. After all, you’re changing the dynamics of your group and challenging what they think of as ‘normal’. For me personally, telling my family that I was vegetarian is one of the hardest things I’ve had to tell them. Seventeen years later, when I decided to convert to a plant-based lifestyle, I had to have another conversation with them. Although, as an independent grown adult, it was a lot easier this time, it wasn’t an overnight acceptance. In fact, I think they still doubt my choices even three years down the line.

When you make the change to living plant-based, it might take your family a while to accept you new lifestyle choice. After all, most of these people have known you since birth. They are the people whose job it is to care for you. They’ll be worried about your health, your motives and maybe even your sanity.

Just like any other person who doesn’t understand the plant-based lifestyle, your family will have lots of questions and you can teach them and show them why you have made the right choice. Although no other member of my family is vegetarian, I know that my vegetarianism has affected them in positive ways. I see them making small changes, such as eating less meat or using non-dairy milk, and I know that would have been unlikely without my input. It’s rare that my mum lets anyone else use her kitchen, but whenever I go to visit her now she always requests that I cook her some vegan food.

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My Wish Has Been Granted

Posted by Sas on July 6, 2014

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There aren’t many things I miss from the days before I became vegetarian. I certainly don’t crave meat, and most other things that I removed from my diet have vegetarian alternatives nowadays. I try not to eat too much processed food, but on occasion I will treat myself to things like vegan cheese, jelly sweets and chocolate. However, the one food item I have not been able to find an alternative to for the past 20 years are marshmallows. I was never much of a fan of marshmallows as a kid, but when I went to work in the USA at the age of 21 I felt left out because I couldn’t make smores around the bonfire like everyone else. (Vegan marshmallows are available in the USA, but unfortunately they didn’t sell them where I worked, and I’ve never come across them during my other trips to the States). Unlike other items only available in the USA, unfortunately marshmallows don’t travel well, so it’s not even like I can order them online. Instead, I have had to patiently wait in the hope that one day they would be available in the UK.

And – my prayers have been answered. Whilst shopping in Cardiff city centre last week, I popped into one of the health food stores to pick up a few bits and saw these shining out at me from the shelf. I couldn’t believe it! At long last, vegan marshmallows available in the UK. What’s more, they are so yummy! Just as good as I remember marshmallows being when I was little.

I can’t wait until my next camping trip to try toasting them over the bonfire!

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Travel theme: Twist

Posted by Sas on July 4, 2014

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It took me a while to find it, but I knew this photo would be perfect for Ailsa’s travel theme this week. I spotted this unusual tree/hedge/railing combo in Livorno in Italy. My favourite thing about it is that whoever painted the railings has obviously just painted around the branches.

Click here to see more entries.

 

Posted in Places I've Been | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

Plant-Based Pause No 26: Make A Meal Out Of Sides

Posted by Sas on July 1, 2014

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘The obstacle is the path.’ – Zen Aphorism

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Whenever I arrange to eat out with omnivore friends in a ‘regular’ restaurant, panic ensues. Not from me, however, but from my fellow diners. ‘But what will you eat?’ they ask.
Obviously, a restaurant doesn’t have to be classed as ‘vegan’ to serve plant-based food. A lot of mainstream eateries have suitable dishes on the menu. Or, at the very least, a dish that can easily be converted. However, there are some out there that don’t. Have no fear, though, this does not condemn you to an evening sat in the car park with a take-out bag of chips.
My simple trick in these situations is to make a meal out of sides. Even the most meat-heavy restaurants that I’ve eaten in have plenty of vegetarian and vegan sides on offer. They may not look very appetising on their own, but combine a baked potato with a portion and vegetables and a side salad and you’ve got a pretty decent plate.
Be warned when using this tactic, though. It has on many occasions confused the waiting staff. Be prepared for ‘I only have 13 mains, and there are 14 of you’.
I’m not trying to convince you that choosing from side dishes is the most interesting choice, and I wouldn’t like to do it on a regular basis, but it comes in useful when I find myself in certain situations. There are of course many, many amazing restaurants out there that go more than out of their way to cater to us plant eaters, and we’ll discuss those another week.

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Plant-Based Pause No 25: Read Labels

Posted by Sas on June 24, 2014

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.’ – Will Durant

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This one may seem obvious. I mean, anyone who’s following a diet other than an omnivore eat-whatever-you-want option has to read labels to make sure they can eat whatever they are sizing up. What I’m suggesting, though, is that you should pay more attention to some of the lesser read parts of labels. The nutritional information, allergies and vegan suitability are all important, but there’s quite often a lot of other good stuff on there as well. Most companies include their website address, which can provide a whole lot of information and new recipes. And if you’re eating vegan/plant-based/organic, you’ll quite often find that the products you buy affiliate themselves with other good causes. For example, the brand of coffee I buy runs a scheme where you can collect tokens and send them in to help The Yorkshire Rainforest Project (I think it’s a charity based in Yorkshire that helps rainforests in other parts of the world as opposed to someone trying to create a rainforest in Yorkshire!). Sometimes you’ll find interesting info typed on the packaging itself. I’ve learnt more about the UK hemp industry from the information typed on the side of Good Hemp Milk cartons than anywhere else.

Before you throw that empty carton or package away, take a closer look at what’s written on it. You never, know, you may learn something new.

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