The Positive Post – World Mental Health Day

Sometimes when I am fed up and feeling like a tiny little spec within the human race, I get to the point of thinking, “what is the point?” What is the point in living, when all we are doing is destroying this world, killing each other, spreading diseases, pain and suffering. There is deforestation (25% of the amazon has disappeared in the last 25 years), bombs killing innocent civilians, life threatening illnesses and diseases that occur from poor living conditions, rapes, murders, everything that is horrifying, seems to be happening in the world at the moment. And a lot of the time, I think to myself why and how is this happening.

“Hate. It has caused a lot of problems in this world but has not solved one yet.” – Maya Angelou

But with everything that is going on in the world, don’t let it affect you to the point of it affecting your own mental health. Don’t ever think you deserve to hate yourself, love yourself. You can make a change; you are the only person who can truly control your own happiness.

It’s so important that you become the best you can possibly be. Bring love to everything you do, and love all living things. When someone crosses your path that is full of hate and anger, do not resent him or her for it, they harbour hatred for themselves. Do not waste your time on others who bring negativity to your life. Get rid of toxic people who degrade your self worth.

Everyone has his or her own issues and problems that aren’t always obvious on the surface, be kind always, as you never know how your behaviour can affect someone. By you setting a good example of how to treat others with love, you will help to bring much needed peace to this world.

Never, ever, ever underestimate yourself. You are strong. You are capable of doing whatever your wildest dreams are, you must never doubt yourself. You deserve complete happiness; you have a purpose in this life. Every life on this planet is sacred, treat others and yourself this way, and believe in this everyday.

Either male or female, don’t compare your own beauty to the unrealistic standards of beauty that the media is constantly trying to remind us of. Be comfortable in your own skin, look after yourself and nourish your mind, body and soul. It is never too late to start loving yourself. Be empowered. Trust yourself and love your “faults” and “imperfections”.

Keep on loving yourself, remember you are your own best friend, NOT enemy. Treat others with love, always. Love will conquer!

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PRO FOR ALPRO!!

A few years ago, I cut out drinking cow’s milk as it made me sick, and over time I have grown to hate the taste of it. Looking for an alternative wasn’t particularly hard, as in recent years the non-dairy milk industry has blown up. Majority of supermarkets have created own brand soya milk, which is good if you are on a budget (my favourite being Sainsbury’s own brand sweetened soya milk) but for maximum taste and various vitamins, I’m pro for Alpro. Over the past few years, I have tried every single Alpro milk there is, and without a doubt, my all time favourite and go-to milk is the Roasted Almond.

As it is super low fat with 13 calories per 100ml, being high in vitamin E (vital for healthy skin), and has calcium (which is usually only associated with cows milk) it’s super good for you as well as being very tasty! The Roasted Almond – Unsweetened milk is so versatile, you can use it as a replacement for milk in all recipes. It gives it a creamy and slightly nutty taste, which is perfect for sweet cereals and even savoury sauces. It can be a bit pricey at around £1.70 per carton, but supermarkets are often doing deals for £1. I’ve found it actually has a much longer shelf life than cow’s milk too. Once opened I can usually use it for up to 10 days! (Obviously the smell and pour tests are important here). So if you are keen to try an alternative, or if you are slowly trying to make the transition to becoming vegan like myself, or even just to try something new, Alpro is hands down the mother of all non-dairy milks.

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I have a confession.

So as we all know, as you get older you grow to like new flavours and new foods, and you become accustomed to being more adventurous. It’s not usually an over night thing, but for me with this certain food, it really was. I have been keeping it a secret for a few weeks now because I know how much my dad is going to revel in this, and because I’m extremely stubborn I don’t want him to win, “you will like it one day,” which I thought I knew I would never but everything has changed. So here it goes, words I thought I would never say: I LOVE baked beans. It sounds so bizarre to say, I can’t quite get my head around it. From pure disgust of the texture, taste and the fact I was convinced they could move around on your plate on their own, I now cannot get enough of the saucy little beans.

I used to be the biggest meat lover in my family, meat for every meal, everyday. Rarely touching the veggies, just stuffing my face with ribs, burgers, salami you name it, and often sauntering to the fridge to snack on sliced ham or leftover roast chicken. Now I obsess over glorious roasted vegetables and couldn’t think of anything worse than eating meat.

Now you probably remember the outrage and denial that came with the outcome of a World Health Organisation study in October 2015, that in a nutshell associated bacon being as bad as smoking cigarettes. But think of it this way, if there is scientific proof the more meat you eat, the higher the risk of carcinogenic occurrence, it would just make sense to cut down. And a lot of it is not just because it’s simply meat, but because of how its processed. Until you know exactly what is going into your meat, e.g. what it has been fed, if it has been given steroids or antibiotics, you do have a concious choice to not contribute to the industry.

With an open mind and a willingness to try something new, you might just have your entire world changed for the better! This will not only benefit the world we live in, but it will have a hugely positive impact on your own health. Peace and love!

The best and worst veggie BBQ ‘meats’

As a nation we are stuck in our ways of traditions; meat and two veg, Sunday roast and meaty BBQ’s in the summer. People don’t seem to understand that you can do Sunday roasts and BBQ’s veggie style, and make it absolutely glorious. Instead of eating a slab of charred and greasy cow flesh between two bits of bread, I now indulge in my favourite meat free burger with a dollop of red onion chutney, salad leaves and of course my all time favourite food on this planet, the mighty avocado.

Now if you’re into the whole mock meat look, so it’s like you’re actually eating the meat but you’re actually eating some kind of weird processed fungi, then Quorn is for you. They do the obvious range of your generic processed meat, burgers, sausages, and minced meat, as well as chicken strips etc. The Quorn sausages are a big fat N-O from me. I used to eat them a lot when I first became a vegetarian because I would always crave good old comfort food such as bangers and mash, but a more than a year now I have decided they are not going straight in my basket (hehe). Having said that I am a big fan of the burgers, leave them too long on the BBQ and they WILL turn into a cardboard-like texture. So oil them up, chuck a bit of BBQ seasoning on and make sure you keep an eye on them, flipping them from time to time.

Quorn burger.png(Photo from www.quornfoodservice.co.uk)

All hail the queen of veggie food that is Linda McCartney. My oh my, they have got it spot on. The veggie sausages are incredible, both the classic vegetarian and the red onion and rosemary. Meat-eaters are also a huge fan of these, so it’s not just a food for the ‘tree huggers.’ And for the burgers, I can’t even. They are a vegetarian’s BBQ dream, I would often be screaming inside and trying so hard not to relapse at BBQ’s until these beauties came into my life. My favourite being the vegetarian mozzarella 1/4lb burgers, hands down the greatest veggie burger I’ve ever had. They are the perfect addition to the salad that is often presumed is for the boring vegetarians.

Linda McCartney burger.png(Photo from http://www.lindamccartney.co.uk)

So in conclusion, Quorn is a little lacking with the imagination that can be needed being a vegetarian and Linda McCartney in my eyes has created revolutionary meat free burgers and sausages. They are widely available at most supermarkets, so give them a try and be enlightened! Peace and love!

“Don’t you really miss a big fat juicy steak?”

When people asked me this early last year, I would grit my teeth and reply with “yes, yes I do.” And then instantly the thought-sinning would commence. I would get these huge overwhelming cravings for the greasiest bacon burger, crispiest pieces of fried chicken and bloodiest piece of steak. And I mean reeeeally fantasising about how much I would enjoy it, near to how much a morbidly obese middle-aged man dining at an American steakhouse enjoys meat.

Last year, my meaty relapses, 99% of the time, were blind drunk or hungover decisions eating something along the lines of a McDonalds big mac (if you can call a Big Mac meat). Whilst I would sat there with the previous night’s makeup on, hair a mess and food/dribble down myself), I can honestly say, (my hand on my now healthier heart), no I don’t miss meat, not one bit to be honest. They say time is the best healer and it’s completely true. The pure thought of eating meat now slightly churns my stomach, when I see the amount of fat that is left in the dish after cooking a big slab of meat, really does make me feel nauseous. I can’t help but think that all that fat is going straight into your body (and the environment) and we need to love our bodies, they are temples not graveyards for the many mistreated animals that are killed everyday for human consumption. According to www.viva.org a combined 8 BILLION, farmed pigs, sheep, turkeys, ducks, cattle, chickens, fish and shellfish per year in the UK ALONE. So that’s the same as the current world human population, slaughtered every single year just for the UK’s pleasure.

Some words that I live by: the idea of eating farmed animals who have a life of pain, suffering and a traumatic death just for the purpose of pleasing my taste buds cravings, is never going to be worth it. And with this means that in my opinion ultimately being a self-sufficient human being will help to combat this. I think we all need to be more aware of our eating habits, as we have become a naïve nation we are extremely lucky with our resources and the ability to have pretty much anything at anytime in the UK. Climate change is happening at an alarming rate, with deforestation taking down more and more of the Amazon every year to raise billions of cattle or for cattle feed.

Now a lot of people ask what I eat, and that I must have boring meals because my dishes minus meat, but by becoming a vegetarian I have completely fallen in love with cooking. It has made me so experimental by being open to so many new flavours and ingredients from cuisines all over the world. Now and again in this blog I will provide you with some tasty vegetarian meals I make, tips on how to buy cheap and keep yourself full. It’s not all salads… Peace and love!