Seedling Magazine Issue #2 - December 18/ January 19

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se e dling ISSUE #2 | DEC/JAN 2018-19

digital detox

easy ways to produce less waste

Reduce stress and reconnect with real life

sustainable christmas special

Finding balance in your plant�based diet seedling magazine | 1


thank you to our sponsors We are so grateful to our amazing sponsors for helping to support this issue! Be sure to check them out if you're interested in their products or services; you can click the logos/images to visit their websites.

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Website littlegreenseedling.com

editor's note

Submission, sponsorship and advertising enquiries Bethany Ivy bethany@littlegreenseedling.com Design Bethany Ivy Š 2018 Bethany Ivy

Hello, and welcome to the Christmas issue of Seedling (if you celebrate Christmas, that is!). I was really pleased with the response to the first issue and received so many lovely comments, so thank you if you read or shared it. And a massive thanks to the kind person who donated $15 too. Click here if you'd like to support us for as little as $3. This issue, we have thoughts on cutting down on the waste we produce, learning to love vegetables and having a healthier relationship with technology. We also have some tips for celebrating Christmas sustainably and compassionately, with some warming recipes to help you through the cold season. And on the political side, we take a look at the banning of an anti-palm oil ad, and discuss bearing witness to animals headed to slaughter. Hopefully everyone will find something to suit their tastes in this issue. Enjoy the festive season!

Beth

While every effort has been made to ensure that information is correct at the time of publication, the authors and editor cannot be held responsible for the outcome of any action or decision based on the information contained in this publication. The editor and writers do not give any warranty for the completeness or accuracy of this publication’s content or opinions. This magazine is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. The reader should consult a doctor in matters relating to his/her health, particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission of the editor. Permission is only deemed valid if approval is in writing. All images used have been sourced via Pixabay, or are used with the permission of the owner. Photos on cover, p. 13 & p. 59 by Sarah Mordelt.

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contents mind 18.......silencing the inner critic

32.......digital detox: reduce stress and reconnect with real life 38.......one person can make a difference: deborah bostock-kelley's charity showcase celebrates its 6th year

body 10.......How IIFYM, intermittent fasting and intuitive eating led me to a healthier relationship with food 25......winter-warming recipes 58......how to learn to love vegetables

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soul 44......thoughts about...letting go 54.......why practice yoga?

planet 8.......5 incredibly easy ways to reduce waste 21......sustainable christmas special 42......beautiful planet - nature photos 48......why the iceland ad shouldn't have been banned 52......man's greed (a poem)

beings 24......raising a vegan toddler

36......why lions aren't a justification for eating meat 46......why everyone should attend a slaughterhouse vigil

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5 incredibly easy ways to

reduce waste

by Hannah Parry This time last year, I was spellbound by Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II series on the BBC. My heart broke during the last episode ­ when national treasure Sir David explained and demonstrated the devastating impact that plastic waste is having on the world’s oceans. The scale of the problem often feels overwhelming ­ what good is one less straw when all the turtles are eating plastic bags which are already in the sea? Whilst I believe big corporations need to do their bit by changing their packaging (I strongly recommending joining in activism with organisations such as Greenpeace), there are small and easy changes we can all make. If we all make small changes every day, they soon add up and can have a big impact.

1 . Reuse single-use plastics My utopian dream is to fill my reusable glass jars with dried chickpeas and pick fresh green lettuces from my garden. Back to reality ­ supermarkets still use a lot of single­use plastic, and most of us have to buy food from supermarkets. How about finding more uses for each item? I wash up houmous tubs and use them for storing leftovers in the fridge (they’re the perfect size for half a can of beans or sweetcorn), and plastic mushroom trays make excellent containers for pot plants or for keeping vegetable peelings in before they go in the compost. Those big, sealable plastic bags that deliveries come in ­ I use those as bin liners. Get creative. What else can you do with that plastic bag before you put it in recycling?

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TOP TIP My sleek silver cup keeps my coffee warm. I save money by making coffee at home whenever I can and taking it with me. This also ensures I’m suitably caffeinated even if I’m in a coffee shop­free area.

2. Meal prep Dashing out of the office at lunchtime to grab a salad to take back to your desk is a pretty healthy choice ­ but those plastic boxes they usually come in are such a waste! Even if your local deli uses biodegradable cardboard containers, there’s still waste produced and energy used. Make your own salad at home and bring it to work in a reusable tub. This will save the planet, with the added bonus of saving you money too. What could be easier than slicing up some cucumber and lettuce, before chucking in some cherry tomatoes and couple of spoonfuls of chickpeas or kidney beans? Make a salad dressing in a glass jar (reusing before rcycling!) and keep it in the fridge ­ or, for the seriously busy/lazy, a dash of soy sauce and a grind of black pepper will do the job.

3. Shop second-hand Not only can you get some great bargains on preloved designer clothes and funky retro furniture, but you’re preventing waste in many ways. Think of all the packaging that gets sent out with stuff you buy new online. I bought a nice eco­friendly bamboo hairbrush online recently, which came in not one but two plastic bags! Check out Freecyle for completely cost­free items that need a new home, and browse charity shops for Christmas presents to find unique and sustainable gifts which also support charitable work.

4. Get a reusable coffee cup

counter with my silver vacuum mug outstretched is immense. Not only is one less cup going in the bin, but many coffee shops give you a discount.

5. Dispose of your waste responsibly From making sure you don’t put non­recyclables in your green bin to posting unwanted but still usable items on Freecycle or Gumtree, a little bit of thought can ensure that your waste ends up in the right place. Who’s old enough to remember cassette tapes? Someone on Freecyle wanted a box of those. And I made a profit from selling seven cufflinks on Gumtree (yes, seven! Three and a half pairs).

Whilst it is easy to despair that the world is doomed, there are some small and relatively effortless ways you can help. It may seem like a teardrop in the vast and filthy ocean of misery, but if we all make a change - and then persuade one or two friends and family members to join in - then our movement is sure to grow. SM

About the writer When she can sit still long enough, Hannah the Traveller is a writer and blogger. The rest of the time, she’s running or hiking or cooking up vegan feasts somewhere in the world ­ or playing the organ! Find out more at www.hannahparry.co.uk/hannah­the­traveller.

As a coffee addict, I end up in coffee shops very frequently. My smug pride as I stride towards the

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Finding Balance How IIFYM, intermittent fasting and intuitive eating led Sarah Mordelt to a healthier relationship with food

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How can one find a healthy relationship with food by jumping on every diet trend bandwagon that comes along? Fair question. When I was making notes to write this article, I actually looked back over the past two years and thought "Wow, what I was doing wasn't healthy or balanced at all." In that time, I have tried "if it fits your macros", intermittent fasting and intuitive eating. And none of them worked for me. Now, I like to describe my approach towards food and eating as "intuitive fasting" ­ a blend between intuitive eating and intermittent fasting. In this article, I want to share with you what I've learned by following these diet trends ­ the good and the bad ­ and how that has led me to a healthier relationship with food. And I'm intentionally saying "healthier" instead of "healthy" here, because I know I'm not completely where I want to be yet.

'If it fits your macros' (IIFYM) From January to August 2017, I tried the "if it fits your macros" diet ­ or IIFYM for short. I actually just had to check my tracking app to remember the exact time period. I can't recall exactly how I got started, but I probably read it somewhere online or saw someone talk about it on YouTube.

Why I wanted to try IIFYM I think I was initially intrigued by IIFYM because I am obsessed with numbers. I love tracking things, comparing numbers, analysing data and seeing patterns. So naturally, I was instantly drawn to expressing my food intake in numbers. Around that time, I was also starting to eat less meat and I wanted to see how that would affect my protein intake.

Why I quit IIFYM I didn't quit IIFYM from one day to the other. Around August 2017, I was moving from my student dorm to a small flat in a new city, I was travelling, and I was visiting my parents more often. I just didn't have a scale with me all the

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What is...

time. So I was adding less and less of what I ate into my tracking app. I also realized I was getting enough protein and had gotten quite a good feeling of how many calories I was eating without writing it all down. So after a while, I just felt less motivated to do IIFYM and eventually stopped.

What I learned from IIFYM

...IIFYM? In IIFYM, you track the macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) of your food. That means you need to keep track of what you eat and how much of it. You can eat pretty much anything as long as you stay within these macronutrients and within your daily calorie goal. I went for a 40­30­ 30 split: 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat.

Food is not a number: As much as I love numbers and I love food, I realized that reducing food to numbers was harmful. I became so disconnected from the food I was eating. Sometimes I would eat certain foods and meals because they fitted the numbers. In a way, I think that helped me transition to vegetarianism, though that might seem counter­intuitive at first. Taking out the emotional connection and the taste and just looking at it on a rational level made me realize how unnatural and repulsive it was for me to eat meat.

Understand your habits: Once I started tracking everything I ate, I realized that I would often eat out of boredom. I also realized that almost every other day I would buy a chocolate croissant from the bakery on my way to or from uni. Beyond the fact that I was spending a small fortune on chocolate croissants, it was a rather unhealthy habit. There is nothing wrong with indulging, but I realized that the things you do unconsciously are so important.

Understand portion sizes: Doing IIFYM really helped me get an

...intermittent fasting? Whilst IIFYM is more about what you eat, intermittent fasting is all about when you

understanding of what portion sizes really mean, how some foods are calorie or nutrient­dense whilst others don't have so many calories. Now I absolutely do not think it is necessary to 100% keep track of your nutrient/calorie intake or look at every food label. However, I do think it is important to have a basic understanding of portion sizes and how much you need to eat to fulfil your needs.

eat. Essentially, you have a controlled fasting window where you don't consume any calories (only water or tea) and an eating window. A common method is the 16/8 method, where you fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours. Another method is the 5/2 method, where you eat normally for 5

Intermittent fasting Sometime around June or July 2017 (while I was doing IIFYM but tracking fewer and fewer days) I saw a YouTuber talk about intermittent fasting. I thought ­ why not give it a try? To get started, I ate bigger meals for dinner and delayed my breakfast until I was feeling hungry. In the end, I went with a 15/9 split. Usually I would eat my first meal at around 10 am and eat dinner at 7 pm.

days of the week and fast for the remaining two days.

Why I wanted to try intermittent fasting The main reason why I decided to try intermittent fasting was to reduce my bloating. Before, I was feeling bloated most of the time and it was annoying me. Also, I was just generally interested in the concept and hoped it would simplify my morning routine. As someone who always felt super hungry 10 minutes after waking up, not eating until noon seemed a bit dauting, but also quite intriguing.

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Why I quit intermittent fasting While I was still at uni, intermittent fasting was working really well for me. I felt great, had lots of energy, felt less bloated and was just very happy with my body. I would usually prepare some overnight oats the day before, bring them with me to class and break my fast during the first morning break. Because I came home at 5 pm at the latest, eating dinner at 7 pm wasn't a problem either. Then I started a new job in October 2017, and everything changed. Now I don't come home before 6.30 pm, and sometimes it's even later. In the mornings, I usually have meetings at work. I'm just not that flexible anymore with regards to when I eat.

What I learned from intermittent fasting

Eat when you are hungry: This was the biggest aha moment for me. I think in our culture, eating has become such an integral part of our daily routine that we don't really listen to our bodies anymore. We don't really eat when we have to or when we feel hungry, but more when it is "normal" to do so. Who told us to eat breakfast in the morning even when we don't feel hungry? Who told us to wait for dinner at a certain time even though we might already feel hungry? What I've learned is to pay close attention to my body's cues. I've learned that sometimes I feel hungry but that is just my body telling me I'm dehydrated. Other times I feel hungry and it is indeed my body asking for food.

Eat mindfully: For me, doing intermittent fasting took out the stress of eating breakfast while getting ready for work/uni. I guess it made me realize how little attention I was paying to

the food I was eating whilst eating it. Now, I am making an effort to try and have at least one meal a day without any distractions or multi­tasking going on. And by that, I don't mean chatting to my co­workers or hanging out with my friends. I mean scrolling through Instagram, watching YouTube/TV or answering emails whilst absent­mindedly eating my meal. This also includes eating and chewing slowly (which my grandma also used to tell me all the time! I guess she was right … thanks grandma xx) and stopping when you are feeling full.

Don't let your eating habits interfere with your daily life: The reason why intermittent fasting (and I guess also IIFYM) didn't work for me anymore was that my life changed. We have to understand that it is totally okay (and normal) to change. What worked a year ago might not work anymore, and we have to adapt. But that's fine. I learned that I needed to create an approach to eating that would make me feel happy and balanced, but also wouldn't interfere with my daily life.

Intuitive eating

Why I wanted to try intuitive eating When I started my new job and couldn't keep up with the tight schedule of intermittent fasting anymore, I kind of went back to intuitive eating. I realized that with IIFYM and intermittent fasting I was setting myself a lot of rules and restrictions. Rules can be a good thing if they are reasonable and achievable. If you set too many restrictions, at some point you will become frustrated.

What is... ...intuitive eating? Intuitive eating describes an approach where you listen to your body ­ eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. There are no restrictions or guidelines as to what you should eat. Instead, it is about how your body feels and what your body craves.

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Why I quit intuitive eating I wouldn't necessarily say I quit intuitive eating. Rather, I modified some parts of it, incorporated the aspects of intermittent fasting that I enjoyed, and finally found a way that works for me. I like to call it "intuitive fasting". I still try to delay my first meal of the day and eat fewer bigger meals in a shorter time period because I think it simplifies my life and I feel good doing so. However, I am also listening to my body, and if I wake up hungry then I'm gonna eat something ­ so what?

great plants and spices that I had never thought of eating before. Like tempeh, cashew cheese, tahini, edamame, hazelnut milk, aquafaba chocolate mousse… Sometimes I feel a bit silly for not knowing about these foods prior to going vegan, because now I wouldn't want to miss them!

Eat clean: I feel so much better when I eat whole foods

What I learned from intuitive eating

instead of processed foods. I notice I get less breakouts on my skin, my digestion is better, I have more energy. And I don't mean not eating any processed foods at all. What I mean is making an effort to fuel your body with mostly whole foods and clean meals.

Avoid extremes: Whether that's when you eat (see

It is okay to indulge: What I love about veganism is that you

intermittent fasting), how many calories you eat (see IIFYM), or how much of a certain macronutrient you consume (for example low­carb­high­fat), I have learned to avoid extremes! Anything that is unnatural to you because it's too rigid or strict, that stresses you out or feels like a burden ­ it is not sustainable. And I think when it comes to creating a healthy relationship with food, it is so important to find an approach that works for you and that is sustainble for you.

can basically make any dish taste so delicious and flavorful whilst keeping it nutritious, natural and healthy at the same time. Especially after doing IIFYM for a while, I had to re­ learn that eating is also about enjoying and indulging. It is okay to enjoy eating. In fact, I think it's super important to indulge from time to time! And if you do indulge, you don't have to make up for it. SM

Listen to your body: How does a meal make you feel? Does it make you feel satisfied? Happy? Energized? Bloated? Tired? How do you feel eating it? How do you feel a few hours later? Your body is amazing at telling you what it needs. But you have to listen!

About the writer Sarah is the blogger behind Sarah's Vegan Guide, which

What I learned from going vegan Around the time when I found "intuitive fasting" as an approach that works for me, I also transitioned to a vegan diet. Here is what I learned from going vegan:

she started to share her favorite recipes and her experience of going vegan. She loves getting creative in the kitchen, figure skating, traveling and listening to country music.

Veganism is not a restriction: At first I thought, "Oh, I can't eat this. I can't eat that." However, soon I discovered all these

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what is it you plan to do with your ONE

wild and precious life?

� mary oliver seedling magazine | 17


by Elize Lake

Silencing the

inner critic by Elize Lake

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My inner critic is my worst enemy ­ we’re talking some serious Tom and Jerry rivalry, except probably worse! It's always chirping in my ear with its self­doubt and criticism, and I'm sometimes overwhelmed by my negativity towards myself. This has inspired my interest in human psychology (mainly as a hobby), because I know I'm not the only one with a mean, critical inner voice which takes tough love to an all­new villainous level. I have often wondered about the origins of my critic and just why it says the things it does. Was I just born with the tendency to be self­critical, and destined to have this one­ on­one battle my entire life? Is it derived from the environment I grew up in? Could it be something someone said to me years ago that my conscious mind forgot but my subconscious clings to anxiously? The theories are potentially endless. However, I do believe there is science behind the inner critic, though I don't think it's entirely identical for everyone.

Where does the inner critic come from? I believe inner critics stem from a cocktail of societal pressures, expectations (internal and external) and our degree of consciousness. These three things all too readily influence our mental health, and when you've got such an elaborate cocktail of things going on, your inner critic finds volume in your overwhelmed (and fast becoming exhausted) mind. For me, my inner critic stems from my childhood. Not having the best upbringing made me aware from a very young age that life wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. Being aware of poverty, corruption and substance abuse from early childhood gave me an elevated consciousness which far surpassed what children should know at that age. The saying about wrapping your child in bubble wrap was defnitely not a problem for me. As I've grown older and my environment has changed, my consciousness has expanded tremendously. I've gone through the usual motions of being a teenager and eventually grown into a person who, if I'm being honest with myself (having hushed my inner critic), I am proud to be. Veganism is what has allowed me to feel this way. Going vegan has established in my mind what a compassionate individual I am, and this is one of my greatest accomplishments. Whilst being vegan fills me with joy, the information I've learned about animal exploitation in industry has led me to question the rest of the world. My consciousness has grown further after educating myself about the dairy and meat industries, and like when I was a child, my consciousness has been elevated because I am

more aware of the negative things in life (animal violence and exploitation, and just how unneccesary they are). All of this awareness combined and we're talking... *brain explosion*. Now comes the important part ­ WHAT CAN WE DO? Seeing as it isn't possible for us to murder our inner critics without taking ourselves with them and depriving the world of the beautiful and amazing contributions we could make, we have to learn to manage our emotions and our inner voices. Our inner critic is a part of us, but it doesn't have to define us. There is so much potential for goodness within each individual, and nobody's subconscious should prevent them from achieving greatness. Overcoming the inner critic is hard, but it isn't impossible. By committing to establishing a different mindset and undergoing a shift in consciousness, we can all have positive thoughts about ourselves.

Listening One of the most important steps towards overcoming negativity within ourselves is first and foremost to listen. That simple, eh? It is! Don't listen to analyse ­ that will only add fuel to the fire. Listen to everything your inner critic has to say and then just acknowledge it. Don't burden yourself with the 'why' of what's being said; that will only increase pressure on yourself and give your subconscious more thoughts to explore. Simply listen, and once your subconscious has finished, just accept what's been said. Practise knowing that your subconscious knows you better than anyone else ever will, and that what's being said is just your insecurities being manifested ­ it doesn't make them true. Through listening openly and receptively, the words become less those of an enemy ­ they're just words. Critical thoughts are often a vicious cycle, and when we try to repress or ignore the voice, it often leads to more and more negative thoughts and can lead us to a spiral into a pit of self­doubt. Well, no more! You have control of your mind, and you can manage any storm that goes on within it. Showing yourself the same compassion you show others, whether human or animal, will aid you tremendously in overcoming the inner critic. If the voice is harsh, it's important to increase your self­love and your self­ appreciation. I know what a beautiful person you are, and if you struggle to see that, know that other people do.

Affirmations Once you've become accustomed to listening to your inner critic, it's important to shift your mindset. In an unpressurised environment, listen to your subconscious and see if there are any recurring thoughts. Once you've

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established the biggest culprits, you can start developing a different mindset towards them using affirmations. Affirmations need to be written as though they are already true, e.g. "I am confident", "I am good enough", "I am worthy". It's so empowering to say these things, even if it is initally hard to believe them. By creating the healthy habit of using affirmations, in time you will notice a change in your opinion of yourself.

Finding a purpose It's also important to apply yourself to something you believe has purpose. This will help you recognise the impact you can make, allowing you to physically see the worth you have. Far too frequently, I have seen within myself how a mind lacking in direction can become an idle mind, and an idle mind is far more susceptible to critical self­talk than a focused mind. When I feel I am contributing to something worthy, my mind has a direction to go in and there is less free space for negativity to creep in. Overcoming our own thoughts is one of the hardest things to do ­ it takes commitment, discipline and a willingness to change. It is so easy to fall prey to societal pressures and expectations, comparing ourselves to others, but this ultimately leads to a life of unhappiness. It is difficult to love yourself when you're not accustomed to it. It is hard to feel confident if you've spent a lot of time believing you're not worthy of the confidence that's already within you. Change will take time. I hope implementing the aforementioned habits will aid in you finding true happiness within yourself and lead you to a lifetime of self­ love.

Conclusion In closing, we have been taught that mental health struggles are synynomous with weakness. So little is said

about mental health ­ ranging from anxiety to depression and beyond ­ that we don't fully understand how connected everything is. Pressure, expectations and consciousness are key to mental health, which is tied to our inner monologues. It is so important that we continue to normalise internal struggles. It can be hard having the knowledge we have, about our pasts, the world we live in, corruption, unfairness and pain, and it is very understandable that so many of us struggle. This is why it's so important that we give ourselves the love we deserve. There is enough negativity in this world as it is, and it is so important that we contribute to it as little as possible. Even if in the grand scheme of things overcoming the inner critic seems small, almost unrelated, it's not. By establishing a positive mindset within ourselves, we are raising our vibration. Everything in our immediate surroundings will then subconsciously match this vibration by default, and we will be resposible for so much positivity. "To change the world we must first change ourselves". SM

About the writer Elize Lake is a 22­year­old aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for health, writing, veganism and dogs. She aims for all her endeavours to positively impact as many industries and people as they can. After struggling with mental health problems and a vocal inner critic, it is her goal to create change, acceptance and understanding of these things for others.

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have a

sust ainable Christ mas with Seedling magazine!

• sustainability tips • eco gift ideas • seasonal plant­based recipes

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how to have a

Sust ainable Christ mas Many people are beginning to tire of the consumerism that now surrounds Christmas, and excessive consumption is damaging to both the environment and our wallets. But it's perfectly possible to celebrate Christmas in a sustainable way; here are some tips to help you do just that.

this with toilet roll tubes, tissue paper and ribbons. Put little sweets inside, or get more creative. You could even come up with some bad puns!

Leave Turkeys (And Other Animals) Off Your Plate

In a similar vein, decorations like tinsel aren't very environmentally­friendly. Instead, try making colourful paper chains. I used to do this as a kid and it was so fun! You can also make paper snowflakes.

Our consumption of animal products (meat, dairy and eggs) is by far the biggest driver of climate change. These products take massive quantities of water and grain to produce and use enormous amounts of land. Besides, the way turkeys are raised is extremely cruel, free­range or not. Watch this video to learn about the conditions many turkeys endure.

Make Decorations

Wrap Your Presents Sustainably When I was little, Christmas Day always left our living room

Luckily, there are a plethora of delicious plant­based alternatives to explore. And no, it's not just tofu and nut roasts.

buried under piles of scrunched up paper. We always recycled it, but it still felt pretty wasteful. Consider wrapping presents in newspaper or scraps of pretty fabric instead. Alternatively, put gifts in a bag which can be reused next year.

Buy Eco-Friendly Gifts

Reuse Cards

See the next page for ideas!

Don't throw your Christmas cards away ­ cut them up to make tags which can be used for next year's presents.

Make Your Own Christmas Crackers Crackers usually contain tacky plastic toys which will break if you actually try to use them. Their sheer pointlessness is sometimes mind­boggling ­ does anyone really need a plastic shoehorn? My guess is that most of them end up in landfill sites (although I do have a friend who collects them!). But crackers are kind of fun to pull, and it's exciting to see what's inside ­ so why not try making your own? You can do

Only Buy What You Need This sounds kind of obvious, but many of us rush out to take advantage of post­Christmas sales without stopping to question whether we actually need anything new. This is especially true with regards to clothes, and cheap clothing is a huge problem from both an environmental and a human rights perspective.

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Silicon Cupcake Cases

Plants

Ideal for anyone in your life who loves to bake. These reusable cases replace paper ones, saving trees and reducing waste. We love them because the cupcakes come out very cleanly - you don't end up with a layer of crumbs stuck to the case!

It's hard to get more eco-friendly than plants! A beautiful houseplant makes a great present for someone with green fingers. Bonus sustainability points if it bears fruit.

Tickets Rather than buying a material object the receiver may never even use, why not get them tickets for an experience you know they'll enjoy? It could be a concert, the theatre, a sports game or something else entirely.

Eco-Friendly Christmas Gift Ideas

Menstrual Cup or Reusable Cloth Pads The amount of waste created by disposable menstrual products is huge. Every person who switches to reusable products makes a huge difference. Plus they're available in a range of fun colours (and patterns, in the case of pads). Just remember to check with your friend or family member which they would prefer (and if they even want either in the first place!).

Biodegradable Toiletries If you're going to buy toiletries or cosmetics as gifts, make sure they'll biodegrade naturally. Choose ones which are cruelty-free too. You could even make your own zero-waste toiletries to give away.

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Raising a Vegan Toddler Cindy Negron shares her experience of bringing up her child vegan I have a two­year­old, and we’re the only vegans in our family. Since we introduced him to solid food, it’s been a fun journey. My toddler loves food, though he’s not too crazy about some textures, and vegetables sometimes have to be covered in nooch [nutritional yeast] to encourage him to eat them. As I'm a working mother, he spends most of his time with his grandparents, who aren’t vegan. Everyone has done their best to make it work. This means that his grandparents try to make food which makes sense to them ­ meals which are an easy bet and that they know will work. So my kid eats tons of rice and beans, broccoli, and different kinds of yams or potatoes. These lunches are easiest for his grandparents. At home, we make an effort to introduce him to more foods; with us, he often tries veggies and fruits cooked in different ways. I was amazed when he ate lentils at an Indian restaurant and loved the whole (mild) dish. In terms of treats, my family wants him to have cookies, but I’m constantly reminding everyone to look for eggs or milk on the packaging just to make sure they get the vegan stuff. Some of the approved brands are a staple,

but when they find another brand I have to scan the packaging and teach them why it's not vegan, reminding them where to look for sneaky animal ingredients. I’ve given away full boxes which aren’t vegan (I don’t like to throw stuff away) so he won’t eat them. I also remind them that he can eat any fruit, so that’s a better treat than a cookie. I’ve been lucky with my family, and even though they might not understand why we do what we do, at least they respect it. That’s important for my kid, because not only is he living a compassionate life, he’s also learning that we have to respect each other. Though the food department is great, there are many cartoons or shows that most definitely aren't vegan­ friendly and which drive me nuts. One of the things which has been more annoying that I expected is watching educational videos. We often see videos which are set in utopian farms, which sends the wrong message to kids about how we treat animals. Many videos or shows objectify these animals, implying it's okay for us to use them as we please. I would definitely love to see more veganism in the media for kids. SM

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warming wintry Recipes

from vegan cooks Miggs McTaylor and Cindy Negron

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Courgette cannelloni wit h

tomato red pepper puree Serves 4 ­ 6 This Italian classic has been given a plant­based makeover; a herby tofu ricotta filled courgette cannelloni, with an earthy tart tomato and red pepper puree garnished with salty black olives and crispy kale. With elements that can be prepared ahead of time, this dish is perfect as part of a festive feast.

Ingredients Herby ricotta-filled zucchini cannelloni ­ 6 medium­size courgettes ­ 280g firm tofu ­ 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast ­ 2 tablespoons finely diced shallots ­ 2 cloves of grated garlic ­ zest of 1 lemon

­ 1 – 2 tablespoons lemon juice ­ ¼ cup finely chopped curly parsley ­ ¼ cup finely chopped chives ­ sea salt and ground white pepper

Tomato and red pepper puree ­ 1 cup tomato passata ­ 1 roasted red pepper ­ ¼ cup red split lentils ­ ½ medium onion, finely diced ­ olive oil ­ ½ cup hot vegetable stock ­ sea salt and finely ground black pepper

To serve ­ ¼ cup pitted black olives ­ 1 cup baby kale leaves or kalettes

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Method

seasonings and lemon juice. Mix them together briefly, then season and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Mix again and taste.

Drain the liquid from the packet of tofu and press it to remove as much liquid as possible. If you don’t have a tofu press, simply place on a plate or edged tray, put another plate or a cutting board on top and place something heavy on top ­ a skillet or some cookbooks work well. The tofu should be

Adjust the flavour to suit your palate, adding more of any ingredient bit by bit until you are happy with the flavour. Fill each piece of courgette cannelloni with the herby ricotta mixture.

pressed for at least an hour; discard excess liquid. In a greaseproof paper­lined casserole dish, stand the While the tofu is being pressed, make your puree. Put the red lentils into a small bowl and pour in the hot vegetable stock; set them aside for 10­15 minutes. The lentils will absorb some stock. This step is not vital, but it will stop them absorbing too much moisture from the passata and they will cook more quickly.

Dice half an onion and the roasted red pepper. Drain the red lentils, keeping the vegetable stock. Sauté the onions until soft and translucent. If you prefer a no­oil version, use vegetable stock.

courgette cannelloni upright with space between them. Ideally, the casserole dish should be taller than the cannelloni. Place the casserole dish in the middle of the oven and bake at 350ºF for 30­40 minutes. If the tops of your cannelloni filling start to colour too much, place a baking sheet on the oven rack above them.

To serve Re­heat the tomato red pepper puree. Finely chop the black olives ­ these add a salty punch to puree. Taste them together before seasoning the puree.

Pour in the passata, and add the diced red pepper and red lentils along with any leftover vegetable stock. Simmer for 8­ 10 minutes or until the lentils are soft, stirring occasionally. Blend into a smooth puree with a stick blender (or use a food processor or blender).

To make the courgette cannelloni, wash the courgette and trim the ends; try to make them the same length. Cut each into 3 evenly sized pieces. Using an apple corer or long­bladed vegetable peeler, remove the center of each piece of courgette

Trim the stems off the baby kale leaves and rinse with water. When the courgette cannelloni has finished cooking, turn off the oven and put the wet baby kale leaves onto a baking sheet in the oven for 4 – 6 minutes or until they are crispy.

Take a generous spoonful of the puree and swirl it onto a warm plate. Arrange three courgette cannelloni in the center and scatter the crispy baby kale leaves around them. Finish by sprinkling chopped black olives around the plate.

so it is a tube, just like cannelloni.

To prepare the ingredients for the herby tofu ricotta, finely dice the shallots and chop the parsley and chives. Zest the lemon, keeping the lemon juice for later.

Crumble the drained tofu into a food processor bowl and pulse until crumbled. Add all the ingredients except the

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Lentils, mushrooms and potatoes

three ways

I've come to realise that regardless of where I live, whether it's New Zealand or Scotland, there are three ingredients that I'm seldom without. Lentils, mushrooms and potatoes are ingredients that I know I can reliably find in my kitchen (or easily purchase). When cooked together, lentils and mushrooms make a hearty winter stew which can be topped with creamy mashed potato for a "Shepherd(less)" pie. A rosette of crispy sliced potato can dress up a casserole, or you can serve the stew as a bolognese sauce over spiralized potato noodles.

Ingredients ­ 200g Le Puy or French green lentils ­ 2 Lapsang Souchong teabags ­ 1 litre water ­ 1 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil or vegetable stock for a no­oil dish ­ 150g shallot or brown onion ­ diced ­ 100g celery ­ diced ­ 2 tbsp tomato puree ­ 100g carrot ­ peeled and dice ­ 2 tsp Marmite or yeast extract ­ 300g button mushrooms, quartered or sliced depending on size ­ 375ml vegetable stock ­ 2 tsp cornflour ­ 500g potatoes ­ choose a variety that suits your choice of topping

Method The Sauce/Filling/Bolognese Add the lentils, water and tea bags to a medium pot, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20­25 minutes or until the lentils are al dente. Drain the lentils, keeping 125ml of the cooking liquid. Add to the vegetable stock and set aside.

Put the oil or vegetable stock into a medium frying pan. To this, add the diced onion and celery with a pinch of salt and sauté until they soften and are starting to colour. Next, add the carrots and mushrooms, with a grind or two of black pepper.

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Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Potato Rosette-Topped Casserole

Put the cornflour into a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons

For best results, use a mandolin to slice a waxy potato. If

of vegetable stock to make a slurry.

you don't have a mandolin, make sure the potato slices are cut as thinly and evenly as possible ­ otherwise the rosette may cook unevenly.

Add the cooked lentils, vegetable stock mixture, tomato puree, and Marmite/yeast extract to the pot. While stirring, slowly drizzle in the cornflour slurry until mixed.

Arrange the potato slices in circles, starting around the

Continue stirring until the stock thickens and all the

outer edge of your casserole dish. Lightly spray or brush

ingredients are combined.

the potato topping with vegetable stock, canola oil or plant­based butter, and then season with sea salt.

At this stage, you should taste the sauce; add more tomato paste and Marmite if you desire a richer sauce.

Potato Noodles with Bolognese

Add only a little at a time, continuing to taste and then season. Make potato noodles with a spiralizer; keep submerged in a bowl of cold water until you are ready to use them.

Shepherd(less) Pie Bring a large pot of well­seasoned water to the boil. Drop Make mashed potato however you like it best; it could be

the potato noodles into the water and cook for 3­5

crushed with olive oil or pureed with vegetable stock, or

minutes. They will cook very quickly ­ don't cover them

use plant­based butter and milk. Pipe or spread it on top

while they cook as they may disintegrate. Drain and stir

of individual pie dishes or one family­size casserole dish.

into warm lentil and mushroom bolognese and sprinkle with plant­based parmesan.

Bake in the oven at 180ºC, until the top is coloured and slightly crisp.

About the cook Having trained as a professional chef, Miggs graduated to being a Botanical Cuisine Specialist after completing the e­Cornell Plant Based Nutrition Certificate and Rouxbe's Plant­Based Professional Course. You can find her recipes here.

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Vegan Rice Pudding

About the cook Cindy Negrón creates content on Veganizalo, a blog and YT channel with recipes and reviews. She's a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator (VLCE), and helps run vegan meal shares in her area. Visit her site here.

I’m from Puerto Rico, and at Christmas we enjoy everything coconut­flavored. We enjoy something very similar to eggnog, something coconut­based that looks very similar to gelatin, and also the recipe I’m sharing today. This is a staple around here ­ our Christmas basically tastes like coconut and cinnamon, and I love it.

Vegan Rice Pudding 15 oz coconut milk 1 1/2 cups of plant­based milk (any kind is good) 1/4 cup of rice flour 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks Extra cinnamon powder to garnish 1. In a saucepan, combine both types of milk with the cinnamon sticks and the vanilla extract on medium­ low heat. 2. When the milk starts simmering, reduce the heat to low and start adding the rice flour. 3. Stir the mixture until it thickens ­ you should be stirring for about 5 minutes. 4. Once it thickens, serve it in individual ramekins or a big bowl.

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Digital Detox: Reduce Stress and Reconnect With Real Life by Farin Montanez

Be honest: when’s the last time you pooped without your cell phone in your hand? With technology at the tips of our fingers 24/7, idle moments and space for daydreaming are almost non­existent. Sure, social media, apps, and games make it so that we never have to be bored. But at what cost? Experts say our hyperconnectedness destroys our patience and

prevents us from living in the moment. Our need for instant gratification is fed by the buzz of every notification, email, and text. We update our statuses and share photos with the intention of connecting with others, but we’re simultaneously taking time away from the people surrounding us in those moments. How much time?

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A study found smartphone users click, tap, or swipe their phones 2,617 times per day on average. Those in the top 10% of the study touched their phones more than twice as often, at 5,427 times per day. For most users, those touches came in short sessions spread over the course of the day, which equated to a total of 145 minutes and 225 minutes, respectively, that those users spent on their phones. While two and a half hours on the phone (not talking, but swiping, typing, or tapping) out of 24 in a day doesn’t seem like a lot, it must leave you wondering what could have been done in those hours. What could have been enjoyed? What happened around you while your eyes were focused down at the screen? Another study found that stress levels directly correlated with cell phone usage. The more people used their smartphones, the higher their reported stress level. The most stressed folks even reported phantom notifications ­­ feeling their phone vibrate when it didn’t actually happen.

Instead of sharing a photo of the barista’s beautiful latte design with your Instagram followers, compliment the barista on their latte art. Chances are, the smile you’ll get in return will make you feel better than a “like.” Instead of absentmindedly downing that dairy­free caffeinated delight while scrolling, swiping, and texting, turn your focus on the act of sipping your beverage. How does it smell, taste, and feel? Take a moment to look around you. Listen to the unique sounds of a busy cafe. Check in with your body. How are you feeling? If sitting in a cafe alone is not your thing, take time each day to do something without technology. • Dance. • Take a bath. • Go for a walk. • Cook in silence. • Read an actual book, not on a Kindle.

The obvious answer to calming stress and reconnecting with

• Play dominoes or a game of cards with friends.

the world around us is to simply put away our phones and tablets. But as the saying goes, easier said than done.

Unplug, log out, disconnect, and recharge your own

Many a millennial cannot sit in a cafe and enjoy a soy latte

proverbial batteries by experiencing life without screens once

alone without scrolling through their newsfeed or snapping a

in a while.

photo of the barista’s perfect latte art. If it wasn’t documented, did it happen?

For baby steps, check out the 7­Day Digital Detox my health coaching clients use to reduce stress on the next page. >

The answer is yes. The next time you’re craving a latte, leave your phone in your car or even your pocket. Put it on silent and resist the urge to check it.

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7­Day Digital Detox

Monday Unsubscribe from email lists. You can use a service like Unroll.Me to uncover all of the lists you’ve subscribed to over the years and easily take yourself off of those lists with a

Thursday Eat all of your meals without looking at a screen today. See if this becomes more comfortable throughout the day. What do you find yourself doing instead?

click. Friday Tuesday Turn off notifications and app icon badges on your phone and

Turn off your phone, tablet, and laptop 60 minutes before you climb into bed. Easy? Try 90 minutes.

tablet. Go into your Notifications setting and switch off ALL apps. Then go down the list and only turn on the important ones, like Messages and Voicemail. After a week, you might find there are some apps you only check because the badge icon or notification prompted you to (but you really don’t care enough about them to open them without those signals). Delete those apps!

Wednesday Unlink your work email account from your phone. Set your email app to refresh manually, so you can check emails on YOUR time, not every time you receive one.

Saturday Enjoy an hour or two with friends and family without posting about it on social media. Go two hours without any screens on, if you spend the day alone.

Sunday Take a screen­free sabbath. Yes, that means going an entire day without checking in on social media. And even going without Netflix. Challenge yourself to a completely screen­ free day and write about how you feel. Was it as hard as you thought it would be? SM

About the writer Farin Montanez is a certified holistic nutritionist, coach, and blogger based in California. She’s also a mother of two, a military wife, and an ultramarathon runner. Read more about her plant­based coaching services at farinmontanez.com.

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Why

Lions Don't Justify You Eating Meat

by Laura Maria Grierson

For some reason, the apex predator of the African savannah has become a role model for those who believe that humans eating meat is – and should remain – the natural order of things. But why do meat­eaters turn to lions to justify their eating habits, and is there any relevance to it?

Why is the Lion the Poster Child of Eating Meat?

Why the lion? For starters, there aren't really any predators larger than a fox in the UK, and a fox doesn’t have quite the same connotations: the British fox may prey on “vermin” such as rats and rabbits, but it’s also a scavenger, occasionally spied creeping through cities or going through bins. It’s hard to convey any gravitas with a fox, particularly when they are also considered “prey” in fox­hunting. A lion, however, garners a lot more respect, not only in its hunting of six­ hundred­pound zebras but also in how we perceive its very movements: the fox slinks, the lion strides. Even in their prey role as the victims of trophy hunting, they have the dignity of being stalked and shot by a human, a stark contrast to how the fox is harried over long distances and torn apart by other non­ human animals. Despite the trophy hunting, humans prefer to see themselves as the predator rather than the prey – to kill is preferable to

being killed, after all. But the lion is even more appealing to associate with due to its moniker “king of the jungle” and its regal connotations. More than that, the lion represents a gender dynamic that proponents of traditionalism are nostalgic for: the female prepares the food and rears the young, while the male struts around his harem, occasionally engaging in territorial violence. The lion is a reminder of a bygone age, the anti­millennial standard.

Modelling a Lion’s Behaviour

The lion may seem a model of stately elegance and masculinity, perhaps in the style of a nineteenth­century country gentleman, but it engages in behaviour that most of us – hopefully – would consider immoral. When a male lion takes control of a pride by killing or driving off the ruling male, he will also kill the young: this is to bring the females back into heat so that his own genetic line can be furthered. If we could consider any animal worth emulating, it’s unlikely that the lion would rank as a worthy role model – but why would we look to the animal kingdom for examples of morality? Animals exist in a situation where to kill is to survive, and to not kill is to starve to death. A lioness does not have the option of choosing a veggie burger, and it’s debatable whether she can comprehend a moral argument as humans can.

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Contributing to the Ecosystem, Not Destroying It

Approximately 80% of lion cubs never make it to two years of age: they starve, are killed by usurping males, or are eaten by other predators such as hyenas or African hunting dogs. This is in bleak contrast to the human child, which is cared for and nurtured by an army of parents, doctors, dentists, social workers, and government guidelines. But these lion cubs exist (and die) to benefit the environment: their deaths feed other animals or simply prevent the lion population from growing out of hand, and when they reach adulthood they join the rest of the pack in culling the prey herds of the old, weak, and slow. The human’s appetite for meat, however, is less considerate of the environment at large – it is, in fact, detrimental to it. Animal agriculture uses and pollutes vast reserves of water and is a leading contributor to global warming through the production of greenhouse gases and deforestation for grazing and feed (more so than the villain du jour, palm oil). Humans breed their “prey” specifically for slaughter, often denying them the natural behaviours of their species, and then transport them to a grisly conveyor­belt slaughter en masse: over a billion land mammals a year meet their end in British slaughterhouses alone. The cages, the trucks, the concrete floor – they are all a far cry from the African grasslands.

The Biology of the Carnivore

possess an array of weapons designed to incapacitate their prey, including claws to dig into their skin, incisors for gripping skin and tearing off meat, and canine teeth to pierce through their flesh and strangle the animal. Their back teeth, known as carnassial teeth, are similar to those you might see in a pet dog, and have edges that move against each other like scissors to cut through meat. Humans, however, are less equipped for ripping into raw flesh and are better suited for breaking down plant matter. Our large flat molars grind plants and grains, and our canines are considerably shorter – much more in line with the rest of our teeth than the protruding daggers we see in true carnivores. Even if humans were naturally armed with the tools to bring down our prey, our guts aren’t well­designed for their digestion. A lion has a short intestine so that meat passes through quickly: if it were to stay inside for too long, it would begin to rot and fester. Humans have much longer intestines for the extraction of nutrients from sources that take longer to break down, i.e. the fibrous walls of plant cells.

ACorrelate Meat-Eating Lion Does Not Human with a Meat-Eating

To argue that humans should eat meat because lions do is as ridiculous as claiming that we should survive on leaves because caterpillars do. Humans are not stalking the plains, depending on bringing down animals to survive: they are supermarket shoppers, cruising the aisles and paying with debit cards. To cite the lion as an excuse for eating meat is disingenuous, and a deflection from the real concerns that surround contemporary agriculture.

About the writer Laura Maria Grierson is a writer and editor from Middlesbrough, North­East England. She creates business content for a range of industries, edits both fiction and non­fiction, and her poetry and short stories But if we need to eat meat, then the deaths of a a billion living creatures (over eight billion if we include fish and shellfish) may be justified – after all, a lion has to kill to eat, however gruesome the act may be.

have been published in UK anthologies.

A lion is classified as a hypercarnivore, meaning that at least 70% of its diet is made up of meat. Like other big cats, lions

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one person can make a difference! Deborah Bostock-Kelley speaks about her charity showcase, Life Amplified, which celebrates its 6th year and 13th event in 2019

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In October 2012, somewhere between my final interview question as a freelance reporter for AOL Patch and exiting the independent movie theatre on North Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa, Florida, a movement was born. Only I didn’t know it at the time. All I had done was ask why Tampa Pitcher Show didn’t present spoken word poetry, and then eagerly volunteer to host a poetry showcase three short months later. I should have realized that although the venue would be donated, a lack of experience combined with no advertising budget ­ for a nonpaid, all­volunteer event ­ would make for a painfully slow registration process. Life Amplified KIDZHELPINGKIDZ

I probably should have given up, but thankfully, I am extremely stubborn. I knew that eventually “if I build it, they

synonymous with producing quality spoken word and variety

will come.” I created a logo, built a website filled with

showcases that benefit small local grassroots charities. It’s

information and a registration form, shared it on social media,

grown in leaps and bounds, and I now host a charity showcase

waited and prayed.

each year.

To match the pay­it­forward bracelet I’ve worn for 10 years, I wanted to make this event the philanthropic side of my creative services company. I chose to name my charity event Life Amplified because spoken word poets amplify stories, whatever topics they might present. I wanted to donate my portion of the ticket sales directly to a small local Tampa Bay organization and be a voice for their platform. I knew we wouldn’t be raising a ton of money, as our venue was small, but something – even if it only paid for office supplies ­ was better than nothing at all. And we’d be informing the audience about the organization in question; sometimes, promotion is as valuable as money. The charity I selected was Redefining Refuge, who fight against human trafficking. They were in the process of opening a home for rescued trafficked women and children, and were the perfect recipient for the show’s proceeds.

"in the time it takes to make an excuse, you could be starting a movement."

In early December 2012, through the use of our website, Facebook, other social media and free press­release sites, the event slowly began to build momentum, and other performers ­ not just spoken word poets ­ asked to perform. The inaugural show opened on January 19th 2013, with 2

I’ve since opened the showcase to all variety acts, and I no longer have to wait months for performers. The show performance roster fills up in days, if not hours. Life Amplified has taken on many surnames – StopH8 for

singers, 9 poets, a comedian/impressionist, and a mind­reader.

bullying prevention, benefiting Teen Edge Be­YOU­ty Camp;

At the end of the show, I thanked everyone and was about to

SALUTES, for K­9s for Veterans; and METAMORPHOSIS,

leave the stage. An audience member stood up and asked, “So

sexual violence prevention for The Crisis Center of Tampa

when’s the next one?”

Bay’s Take Back the Night event.

I hadn’t even considered the possibility.

On May 3, 2014, Life Amplified was invited to move to

Fast forward five years, and Life Amplified has become

venue and all tickets sales to my selected charity. Life

Carrollwood Players Theatre. The theatre donated both the

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Amplified KIDZHELPINGKIDZ was especially poignant, as

atmosphere of positivity and tolerance within the community.

I was recognized as Fox TV’s Hometown Hero for my charity

This showcase features some of the best dancers and singers

work and sold out my first event at the new venue, where it

in community and professional theatre.

was standing room only.

I've gone from not knowing if I’d get one response in 2012 to

Life Amplified KIDZHELPINGKIDZ was unique in that it

being overwhelmed with love and support. I’m now fully

only featured children ­ a child emcee and performers 6 to 17

booked through 2020.

years old. The showcase benefitted the Tampa chapter of Bricks for the Brave (formerly Legos for Leukemia), founded three years ago by a 9 year old boy to honor his friends fighting childhood cancer. He collects gift cards for purchasing Legos as well as new boxes of Legos throughout the year for distribution to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital during the holidays.

I think what amazed me most throughout this journey was how eager people in my community were to help me help the selected local charity. Though the ages and experience levels of the talent range from beginner to professional, the performers all come together for the same reason – to entertain, educate about an important platform and to help a worthwhile cause.

Life Amplified PAWS UP reached into the community to help Animal Coalition of Tampa (ACT), whose building was severely damaged by arson. EMPOWERS took on Military Sexual Trauma (MST) for EQUUSOLUTIONS, who used equine therapy for survivors of PTSD and MST. Days later, the charity called and excitedly said that a horse had also been donated. MASQUERADE was for my gracious host, the nonprofit community theatre; SADDLE UP was for Casey’s Healing Hooves, a rescue that worked with disabled children and adults, and military facing PTSD and MST; CAFFEINATED was to save a small landmark inclusive coffee shop; COMMENDS was for two veteran organizations, Expunge US Veterans and Circle of Veterans, and was recognized as Bay News 9 TV’s Every Day Hero in 2016; and

My fear of having no budget was quickly assuaged by the kindness

of

strangers.

Photographers,

videographers,

sound/light people, playbill printers, and florists, along with raffle sponsors of national chains and local small businesses, have all donated their products, time and talents to Life Amplified – asking for nothing in return. I am completely humbled by the number of people who really care and want to be involved in these special events. I hate when I hear someone making the excuse "But I’m just one person, what can I do?" It only takes one person to make a difference and have an impact. During this process, I’ve discovered that in the time it takes to make an excuse, you could be starting a movement. SM

AWAKENINGS returned to our roots with the nonprofit that started the showcase, Redefining Refuge. On

May

22,

2019,

we

are

doing

About the writer Life Amplified

CONNECTIONS, a Broadway­themed showcase for Project No Labels, whose mission is to unite the Tampa Bay LGBTQ+ community for the betterment of all, creating an

Deborah Bostock­Kelley is a journalist, playwright, producer, director, actress, author, Broadway World theatre critic, owner of The WriteOne Creative Services, & founder of Life Amplified variety showcase for charity. Find the showcase on Facebook here.

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beautiful planet Appreciating the world with photos of beautiful places

Wiltshire, England

Meteora Monasteries, Greece, & Cambria, California By Farin Montanez Instagram: @spiritedvegan seedling magazine | 42


Dinefwr Castle, Wales

By Sabree Simmons Instagram: @theveganbree

Precious Moments in the Garden By Norma

Do you have a beautiful nature photo from your part of the world? Submit it by emailing bethany@littlegreenseedling.com, and be featured on this page next issue! You'll get a link back to your site or social media account too.

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thoughts about...

letting go Read Buddhist literature, and you'll probably come across the term ‘grasping’. It refers to the idea of desperately pursuing or clinging to people, objects, situations and so forth. Grasping at things causes negative emotions such as jealousy, inadequacy and fear of loss to arise. We often labour under the illusion that the things we're grasping after will make us happy, but in reality our desperation destroys our inner peace. Worse, clinging to things too tightly can ironically make us more likely to lose them. Imagine you have a partner you're terrified to lose, so you constantly ask for reassurance that they still love you. You feel jealous and afraid when they text other people, becoming upset and moody and maybe even lashing out at your partner. Behaving like this may cause your partner to get fed up and leave ­ the very thing you're most afraid of!

of us cling dogmatically to what we believe and rarely question whether it is true. This can end up hurting everyone involved ­ think parents who disown their children because of their sexuality, for example. Sometimes, we may not be sure what we believe about a certain issue, but we feel the need to form an opinion anyway. And once we've decided, we cling to it, despite our original indifference.

Sometimes we are convinced that we just need to get that job, date that person or move to that place, and all our troubles will be over. We spend ages mourning our lack of these things. But when we get them, we find we still aren't happy. Many of us resist the present by grasping at the way things ‘should’ be. We can't accept our situation because we're so convinced it should be different. This is particularly damaging when we cling to the past, which by definition we can't change. We can never be at peace as long as we are living in a time that no longer exists. Another form of grasping is the need to have opinions. Many

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What can we do? Most of us could benefit from letting go a little ­ or a lot! This isn't to say that we shouldn't try to improve our lives, but we need to be mindful of how we do it. We must trust that what we need is coming to us in time, and there is no need to cling to it. Rather than fearing change, we must realise that nothing is ever permanent. Situations are like a river, ever flowing, so we can learn to go with the current rather than fighting against it. We can accept where we are and work with it.

be very freeing just to accept that we aren't sure. And when we do have a strong opinion, letting go can help us examine it more objectively and become more tolerant of those whose views differ from ours. Again, this can make it more likely that others will come round to our views, as we are able to put our point across calmly and compassionately. There are many meditations on releasing attachment and embracing change which can help us to let go and find the inner peace we crave. Working on this is something we could all benefit from. SM

When we stop grasping, a surprising thing sometimes happens. We may find that the things we were grasping after simply come to us with little effort on our part. Letting go can make us happier, more confident and less insecure, which paradoxically may attract people and opportunities towards us. When it comes to opinions, we can come to accept that sometimes we just don't know the answer. We don't always need to have an opinion about everything! Sometimes it can

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Why Everyone Should Attend a

Slaughterhouse Vigil Recently, I attended my second vigil with Bristol Animal Save. If you're not aware, a vigil involves standing outside a slaughterhouse and bearing witness to the animals who are going to be killed. The idea is to show them love in their last moments, as well as documenting what they go through. I believe that everyone, regardless of their diet, should attend a vigil at least once. In this article, I'll explain why, as well as giving some idea of what to expect for those who are apprehensive.

My experience It was still dark when I left the house to go to the vigil. I caught a bus to Bath and got a lift with another activist from there, as the slaughterhouse was located just outside Bristol. For obvious reasons, abattoirs tend to be in out­of­the­way locations, so you often need a car to get there. As we approached the slaughterhouse, we saw smoke billowing out of the chimneys on top. It was an extremely sinister spectacle ­ we wondered what exactly was producing it. Disturbingly, a truck full of pigs on their way to the slaughterhouse loomed large on the road behind us.

We made it to the slaughterhouse gates just in time to catch the truck. The activists stopped it, requesting a few minutes to say goodbye to the pigs. The truck stopped and we all approached it. The pigs inside were standing in their own filth, and the whole truck reeked of it.

An emotional experience Pigs have strikingly human­like eyes. As you look into them, it's hard not to be moved by their plight. Pigs are said to be as intelligent as three­year­old human children, and when you observe their friendly inquisitiveness, this isn't hard to believe. Even after six months of suffering at the hands of humans, they still trusted us. We talked softly to the pigs, stroking them through the gaps in the side of the truck. Our three minutes were up far too quickly. Watching the trucks trundle through the gates is always a heartbreaking experience ­ many people are moved to tears by the tragedy of these beautiful creatures going to their deaths. This particular slaughterhouse kills pigs by gassing them,

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which is often said to be the most ‘humane’ method of slaughter. However, it is excruciatingly painful, effectively burning the animals from the inside out. Undercover footage shows pigs writhing and squealing in pain as they slowly suffocate. Of course, what many people find even more upsetting is watching the empty trucks leave the slaughterhouse afterwards.

Documenting the vigil

Tip: If you'd like to go to a vigil, search Facebook for groups near you ‐ try the name of the nearest large town or city, followed by 'animal save', 'pig save', 'chicken save' and so on. Why everyone should attend a vigil As a vegan, going to a vigil is a powerful experience which can reignite your passion for animal rights. You can't help but feel moved to do something about the plight of the animals.

Photographing the pigs

But if you're a non­vegan, it's arguably even more important. We all have a duty to know where our food comes from, but most of us have become thoroughly disconnected from it. Going to a vigil forces us to acknowledge the harm caused by eating animals. We must do this to be able to make informed decisions about what we eat. The atmosphere at a vigil is always one of love, despite the sadness of the situation. Everyone is welcome, and there's no judgement. When I went, the organisers had brought hot drinks to keep the cold at bay (always wrap up warm if you're going to a vigil in winter! You'll be doing a lot of standing around between trucks). It's nice to chat to the other activists, and everyone supports those who are upset by the experience. Get involved! SM

Taking photos and videos of the animals is an important part of the vigil. These can be shared on social media to raise awareness of what they go through. The pig on the right broke our hearts the most ­ he or she was missing an eye. The brown patch you can see is probably a speck of faeces, not the pupil. I found it pretty horrifying that people were going to eat this poor creature’s flesh with no idea of the suffering he or she endured.

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Why the

Iceland Ad Shouldn't Have Been Banned British supermarket Iceland is taking a stand against palm oil, but why won’t the media support its campaign?

by David Colebourn

Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil that is ubiquitous in processed food, mostly thanks to its ease and efficiency of production. It's estimated to be the most produced and consumed vegetable oil, totalling a whopping 30% of all plant oil output globally, but this mass­production comes at a great cost. It takes only cursory research to discover that the production of palm oil on this scale is causing nothing short of devastation to rainforest biomes across the planet. Though it can be produced sustainably, it's less profitable to do this than to clear new land with every harvest cycle. The impact is most severe in Indonesia and Malaysia, although the adaptability of the African oil palm tree (from which the oil is farmed) means that any hot and humid climate is vulnerable to the unsustainable practice of clearing 300 football fields' worth of forest every hour. The impact on the habitat of rainforest species is huge. The UN notes that up to 5000 orangutans are killed annually in pursuit of land for palm oil plantations. They have declared a “conservation emergency” with regards to this species, in light of the prediction that orangutans could be forced into

extinction within just five

years.

To this end, one UK supermarket is making a stand. The Wales­based frozen food specialist Iceland recently produced a 90­second advert for their newly launched range of palm oil­ free own­brand products. It can be found here, and features a baby orangutan, Rang­tan, who has chosen to live in a child’s bedroom. Although the child is initially frustrated, she later learns that he was forced to flee his home because of deforestation, and pledges to spread Rang­tan’s story “far and wide” in order to curb the loss of his natural habitat. As a piece of persuasive broadcasting, the advert is very well put together. I particularly appreciate the direct and level comparison between animals and humans appropriating each others’ living spaces. Appropriate graphics and music, in addition to a feasible strategy for combating environmental damage, give the advert considerable gravity without overwhelming its audience. Truth be told, I think it's excellent. Iceland had hoped to air the advert on television, specifically to rival the famous annual Christmas advert aired by John

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Lewis. However, it wasn't approved by the UK’s broadcasting watchdog, Clearcast, who checked the advert against the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP Code). It's uncommon to see an advert banned from television in the UK, particularly for a company of Iceland’s size. One of the strengths of the UK’s press and media is that it's very loosely regulated by the government, allowing bodies in the media to scrutinise almost whatever takes their choosing. Though this has left a fair amount of space for wealthy media outlets to influence the views of the population as they see fit, an upside is that it's rare for media of this type to be be banned. And yet the advert has been rejected by Clearcast on “political grounds”. Why is this?

Clause 7 of the BCAP code says an advert can 'contravene the prohibition on political advertising if it is: a. an advertisement which is inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature; b. an advertisement which is directed towards a political end; or c. an advertisement which has a connection with an industrial dispute.'

Most news reporting has cited this clause as the reason for the advert’s rejection, but it's not immediately obvious why there might be political motivation behind it – I certainly was unable to find anything after watching it a few times. The advert does little more than motivate consumers to shop at Iceland to reduce damage to rainforests, so what’s the problem? Enter Greenpeace. It turns out that to create the advert, Iceland struck a deal allowing them to rebrand a Greenpeace advertisement dissuading viewers from buying palm oil. Greenpeace has a notorious ­ no, a fantastic reputation ­ for lobbying government bodies around the globe, and so in the hands of Greenpeace, I could support Clearcast’s decision not to clear the advert on the grounds of Clause 7a. In my view, the circumstances change completely when the same advert is submitted by Iceland. Though Clause 7a could be reasonably invoked for Greenpeace, Iceland has never had any interest in political campaigning, and is clearly only trying to do good in the world by spreading information about the degradation of rainforests. It's a valid argument that Greenpeace could simply be using Iceland as a vehicle to get their advertisement onto television screens, but consider this: what is the Iceland advert asking consumers to do? It doesn't criticise or even reference any government or their policies, nor does it attempt to mobilise the population in demanding radical change. The entire point of the Iceland advert is to encourage people to shop at

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A baby orangutan

Iceland! This is hardly a political activity. Further, how much of the population would have known that the Iceland advertisement was originally produced by Greenpeace, had it not been flagged by the media due to its rejection? It's been reported that Clearcast invoked Clause 7 in the knowledge that the advert originally belonged to Greenpeace, but without this knowledge, would they still have had concerns? I think not, and neither would those watching. It is (now) a supermarket advert, after all. To me, the fact that this knowledge alone has the power to change the outcome points to insufficient subtlety in the BCAP code. At the end of the day, there's nothing political about a private company choosing to help tackle deforestation, and I staunchly believe that the BCAP code has failed to identify this. There’s one more thing I want to highlight here on the broader topic of media coverage of environmental concerns. In short, where’s all the news about it? It's my opinion that the public and the media have formed an echo chamber of sorts, where the public’s interest in certain areas of government policy and certain types of community events encourages the media to print stories about these kinds of activity, refuelling the public’s enthusiasm for them. Since more popular stories make more money, the media generally has no particular interest in breaking this cycle. Unfortunately, environmental concerns are very much outside the cycle of affairs that regularly appear in the news, particularly on the front pages of newspapers and at the beginning of news bulletins on television. I could go on, but my point is this. The media had a real opportunity last month to break this cycle and get the public truly concerned about the state of the worlds’ rainforests, but instead, the advert was banned from television. If you could call a broadcasting decision ‘unsustainable’, this would top my list. Moreover, news coverage of the rejection was dry, containing nothing that might hint that actually, Iceland’s advert carries an incredibly important message. I am very disappointed.

Whether all this has angered you or not, there are a number of things you can do to make a difference, relating to both the advert itself and the abandonment of unsustainable palm oil production in general. Firstly, though I have my reservations about the current consumer­driven market model, you can use it to your advantage here; there are few better ways to support Iceland’s campaign than by purchasing from their palm­oil free range! At the time of writing, Iceland is offering 178 palm­oil free alternatives to their regular brands of frozen vegetables, ready meals, and much more – it’s well worth a look.

"If there is demand for a service or product, no matter how immoral the production processes or conditions may be, someone will provide it." Alternatively, it takes just 30 seconds to share Iceland’s advert on social media to spread its impact. If everyone reading this article shared the advert, I naively estimate that we could reach another five thousand people with Iceland’s campaign! I urge you to do it, for one simple reason. If there is demand for a service or product, no matter how immoral the production processes or conditions may be, someone will provide it. Consequently, though it's abhorrent that more legislation and restrictions aren't being put in place to curb palm oil production, a surprising amount of responsibility lies with us as consumers to boycott this ingredient. Iceland has provided us with a simple way to remove palm oil from the food we eat, but if you prefer another supermarket, then it takes just a few seconds to check the ingredients list on the products you buy. The orangutans, and the rainforests in which they live, will thank you. SM

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Man's Greed by Elize Lake

A world naturally plentiful, the seedlings we sow; a world full of greenery, a world that is whole. Jungles and rainforests dance dense in their shrubs, animals in tranquility don’t seek hiding above. The dangerous ground that bears so much terror; the men with their power, guns and their peril. Sowing the seeds of an industrialised planet, a palace of beauty; we’ll soon have to abandon it. Smoke­plumed air, oxygen too thick. Carcasses on the ground; how did it

come to this?

Extinction increasi

ng, hope disappears; the animal kingdom has ended with tears.

Corporate minds of the world may rejoice, of the Earth they've 'conquered' and their

DOMINANT voice. But, terror unleashes, true peril begins ­ with an angry, abused world wronging the sins; of the men who robbed her of her

and the miracle of life. >

natural delights, the fruitful forests

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Left with nothing, bare down to her roots, a smoldering battleground where logic’s aloof.

Pillaged for her assets, stripped bare down to shame; nakedness becomes thee, but NOT in this case. Innocently bludgeoned whilst existing in peace, violated and ruined, no benefit was reaped. Her innocence taken, stolen by us, shame­ridden faces find solace in lust. A greed for man­made power, an ever expand natural earth sit

decaying on a shelf.

i n g wealth, whilst the riches of the

Beauty abused and greed overpowers; the glory of evil has unfortunately found us. The jackpot of life of the controlled corruption, a self­inflicted crisis, an inability to function. The Earth intended for peace and cohabiting, she allowed only so long for the pillagers’ ravaging; one step too far, the seed has been sown, the reaping of the consequences have finally grown. Natural disasters and a shortage of resources, a reality check of elemental

forces.

Proving to us, all we needed was her, to survive and to thrive on this INCREDIBLE EARTH. But greed got the best of YOU, granted was taken, your sustainable

livelihood she has readily forsaken. Illogical logics of a world mistreated, ended in starvation, terror and depletion.

About the poet Elize says, "Poetry has always been a passion of mine. It has served as a release in many emotional situations and allowed me to process my inner thoughts on many subjects I feel passionately about."

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Why Practice Yoga? What's all the fuss about yoga, and should you really be doing it?

by Bethany Ivy Given how passionate I am about yoga, I'm not sure why I've never devoted a post to it before. I genuinely believe that yoga is such an important and healthy practice, and that everyone can benefit from it. I'm by no means an expert, but I've been practising yoga for a couple of years now. I'd like to share the benefits that yoga has, along with some examples of the ways it has helped me personally. There are three main ways in which I believe yoga can benefit us ­ physically, mentally and spiritually. But first...

What is yoga? Most of us think we know what yoga is ­ it's about contorting ourselves into funny shapes, right?! But yoga is so much more than a physical practice. I've heard it described as a ‘science of life’, and I think this is pretty accurate. Bear in mind that there are many different yoga traditions and techniques, which I don't have the space to go into here. Suffice it to say that there's more to it than just postures. Breathing exercises, relaxation and mental focus are yoga too. Once again, it's a way of life rather than a type of exercise.

Physical benefits of yoga

benefits for the physical body. What these benefits are depends on what type of yoga it is, how often you practice and so on. The main ones are increased flexibility and stronger muscles, but there are also some more unexpected ones like improved balance. Yoga has really improved my posture by making me aware of when I'm slouching. I work at a computer, and my posture used to be pretty terrible. But these days, it's much improved. I've definitely noticed all the benefits I listed above, and I've become able to do poses I would never have imagined I was capable of, like crow pose and half headstands. I'm now toned rather than ‘skinny­fat’! Yoga has tremendous benefits for the treatment of many health complaints. It helps with digestion by stimulating the digestive organs, and when done mindfully can ease joint and muscle pain. It's also good for menstrual cramps and so much more. I use yoga to treat the repetitive strain injury I get in my hands from using the computer a lot. It's great for relieving muscle tension too.

Having said all that, it's undeniable that yoga does have

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However, it’s generally not the best way to improve cardiovascular fitness as it doesn't consistently get your heart rate up the way aerobic exercise does.

Mental and emotional benefits of yoga I would say the main mental benefit of yoga is stress relief. When we’re stressed, our muscles tense up and this can make us feel even worse. Yoga helps to loosen up those muscles. But it has other benefits too. Taking a yoga break gives the mind a rest and encourages us to be more in the moment. We may become so focused on yoga that we stop worrying about the future or regretting the past. Yoga techniques have helped me to cope with many challenging situations in life. Focusing on the breath is especially helpful. If I'm feeling stressed or anxious, I take some deep breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth and it helps to calm me down.

"Time spent doing yoga is time not being spent doing things that make us stressed and anxious." When I had my belly button pierced, the piercer commented on how calm I was; I didn't even flinch when the needle went in. It wasn't because it didn't hurt ­ it did! But I was using my breath to stay calm, and I actually felt very relaxed the whole time.

Perhaps most significantly, time spent doing yoga is time not being spent doing things that make us stressed and anxious. For me, doing yoga can act as a reset for my mood when things get too overwhelming.

Spiritual benefits of yoga Most of us do know that yoga has a spiritual element, but we don't really see how this relates to our lives. It's always difficult to explain spiritual benefits, because they’re so subjective and by nature difficult to describe. But I'll give it a go! Personally, I'm sometimes overwhelmed by feelings of peace, joy and serenity when I practice yoga. Doing yoga has even moved me to tears at times, for reasons I can't really explain. Many of my friends report similar experiences. The word yoga means ‘unity’, and that's very fitting because yoga can make us feel at one with each other and the universe. I believe yoga can increase our compassion for others and encourage us to be more patient, tolerant and loving. I find that by helping me to clear my mind, yoga also stimulates my creativity. Some of my best ideas have come to me whilst doing yoga. I've also had insights which have helped me through some tough challenges in life. My yoga practice just seems to put me in the right frame of mind for inspiration and creativity to flow. Of course, yoga is also very strongly linked to meditation. Yoga asanas (poses) help you to get in the zone for your meditation practice. And the lines between the two are blurred, as yoga can sometimes be thought of as a moving meditation. >

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you name it. Once you've been doing yoga for a while, you'll be able to put together your own routines, listening to what your body needs. You really don't need much in the way of equipment to practice yoga. I had nothing at all when I started out! Having said that, I really do recommend getting a mat ­ some poses will be difficult or painful otherwise, and you could end up injuring yourself. Aside from that, you can make do with household objects like books, pillows and blankets if you don't want to buy a ton of props.

Should I practice yoga? Maybe you're still not convinced that yoga is for you. You might do a lot of exercise already and think you don't need to take on any more. Maybe all this talk of spirituality puts you off, or you feel you have physical limitations which will prevent you from doing yoga. I believe everyone's lives can be enriched by yoga, no matter what your situation. Asanas can be adapted to suit your body, as can breathing techniques if you have asthma, allergies or the like. For example, I sometimes have to breathe solely through my mouth when my allergies are bad. Yoga is about inclusion, and no one should feel like they can't do it. Even those who are sceptical about spirituality will likely benefit from a clearer head, more stable mood and less stress ­ and no­one can deny the physical benefits. If you're not flexible, that's all the more reason to practice yoga; your body needs it, and so do your mind and soul. So yes, you should at least give yoga a go. Someone suggested to me the other day that it should be taught in schools, and I couldn't agree more. I'm confident it would make the world a better place.

Yoga at home Yoga classes are a great way to practice yoga. But they are generally quite expensive and many people are self­conscious about doing yoga in public. An alternative is to practice yoga at home. There are many books and YouTube videos which can help you out with this. I highly recommend Yoga with Adriene on YouTube ­ she's so warm and funny and has a variety of videos for practically any mood or situation. Yoga for small spaces, for seniors, for mood swings, for golfers ­

At­home yoga can also be used to complement yoga classes. I try to practice yoga every day if I can; this wouldn't be possible if I relied too much on classes.

Yoga anytime, anywhere I keep banging on about how yoga is a way of life, because it's true! Your yoga practice can and should spill over into the rest of your life. Wherever you are when stress, tension, anxiety or muscle stiffness strikes, yoga can help you out. If you feel self­conscious about stretching in public places, you can focus on your breath and use that to calm you. Personally, I happily do neck, wrist and hand exercises anywhere I like, and can often be found stretching at friends’ houses too!

Be empowered It's amazing to feel your body strengthen and become more flexible; it makes me feel like I can do anything! And I have no doubt that yoga has been instrumental in allowing me to get to a place in my life where I feel like I'm really growing as a person and making progress towards my goals. So no matter what your age, gender, race or abilities, give yoga a go ­ your mind, body and soul will thank you. SM

About the writer

Bethany is a freelance writer, blogger and the editor of Seedling. She loves books, long nature walks, cooking delicious plant­based food, meditation and ­ you guessed it ­ yoga!

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How To Learn To Love

Vegetables There are tons of articles out there on getting kids to eat their veggies. But getting adults to eat theirs can sometimes be even more of a challenge! Most of us ­ especially in the West ­ don't eat anywhere near enough fruit and veg. This puts us at risk of vitamin and fibre deficiencies, and more serious problems in the long­term. It's estimated that not eating enough fruit and veg kills 3 million people every year. Many people are convinced they don't like vegetables, but people’s tastes can change dramatically. Here's a list of foods my boyfriend disliked when I met him: • Sweet potato • Spinach • Kale • Apples • Butternut squash • Lentils • Some types of bean • Cauliflower • Cabbage

He now eats all of the above without complaint. It makes me incredibly happy to see him getting excited about eating spinach! But how can you change your tastes so dramatically? Trial and error has taught me a few tips that I'd like to share with you.

Take it slow A big plate of broccoli can be intimidating if you're convinced you don't like vegetables. Add more vegetables into your meals a little at a time. Chopping them small can really help, rather than trying to eat big mouthfuls of greens. Trying one new vegetable every week is a good way to slowly build up your intake. This may be better than overwhelming your taste buds with lots of different flavours and textures.

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Stop boiling everything!

and sugary food, vegetables are bound to taste bland in comparison.

A standard Western meal often consists of a lump of meat, a lump of starch and a lump of boiled veg. It's hard to think of anything less appetising! When you boil veg, nutrients leach out into the water, often leaving the veg colourless and bland. Experiment with other ways of cooking it. Many vegetables are delicious roasted. Steaming preserves flavour and nutrients better than boiling. Some veg is delicious grilled or fried. If you don't like a vegetable cooked one way, try it another way!

Change the way you think about veg If you think of eating vegetables as a chore, you're unlikely to enjoy it. So you need to change the way you think about veg. An easy way to do this is to admire it. This may sound silly, but hear me out. When was the last time you really looked at your food? I think vegetables are actually very beautiful. They come in such a huge variety of colours, shapes and sizes. Admire the bright oranges of carrots and sweet potatoes, and the vibrant green of spinach and broccoli. Notice the deep reds of beetroot and red cabbage. Remember that veg is colourful because it contains antioxidants, which are vital for good health. In a similar vein, try to really taste your veg. If you think you don't like vegetables, you probably try to shove them in as quickly as possible so you can eat the tastier things on your plate. Don't do that. Take the time to stop and savour each mouthful.

Put veg in the starring role Rather than relegating vegetables to an unappetising side, try some recipes where they are the main feature. You could make a vegetable curry or chilli, or a warming soup or stew like ratatouille. Or try making vegetable pie, vegetable lasagne or stuffed peppers. The possibilities are endless! Check out my free vegan meal plan for more vegetable­based meal ideas.

Spice things up I suspect one reason why many people don't like vegetables is that they eat them plain. No one boils meat and eats it plain ­ they season it! Try doing the same with your veggies. That's another reason why dishes like curry are so great. The veg absorbs some of the sauce and is incorporated into the meal rather than being left on the side. You can also add veg into milder meals like pasta sauces. If you're not putting your veg in a sauce, try some other seasonings and dressings. There’s mustard, salsa, salad dressing, chilli sauce, soy sauce, guacamole and so many more options to explore. However, try to limit salt and sugar in your cooking. If you overwhelm your tastebuds with salty

Think about how those vegetables will nourish your body. Be grateful for the food and the energy it will give you. I'm sure you'll soon find yourself appreciating veg a whole lot more.

Make it fun! My final tip for learning to love vegetables is to go beyond adding them to your meals. Think of other fun ways to add them to your diet. Try snacking on vegetable sticks dipped in hummus. Make courgette (zucchini) pizza boats. You can even put veg in your desserts! Think carrot or courgette cake, and pumpkin or sweet potato pie. If you want to go really wild, experiment with cauliflower chocolate cake or kale brownies. You can also try spiralised vegetable noodles or cauliflower pizza crusts, though there's no reason to eliminate whole grains from your diet.

Bonus: grow your own If you have the time, space and inclination, growing your own veg is a lot of fun. It's rewarding, saves you money and it tastes better. Most importantly, you'll likely be more enthusiastic about eating veg you grew yourself. SM

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