Seedling magazine - Oct|Nov 2018

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s e e dlin g ISSUE #1 | OCT-NOV 2018

wild and vegan Connecting to the planet by foraging

starting a vertical garden

plantbased food as medicine

Food not Bombs Defiantly Highlighting Tampa’s Invisible Population seedling magazine | 1


editor's note

Submission and advertising enquiries Bethany Ivy Design Bethany Ivy Š 2018 Bethany Ivy

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first ever issue of Seedling magazine! It's great to have you here. Putting together this issue has been so much fun. I've loved reading about the world from other people's perspectives, and I feel I've learned so much. This issue features everything from foraging tips to plant-based food myths debunked to thoughts on fitting more adventure into our everyday lives. We also have some delicious vegan recipes, beautiful nature photos, a guided meditation and even a vegan poem! Hopefully you'll find plenty here to feed your soul. If you enjoy it, please consider making a donation and sharing the magazine with anyone who might appreciate it. Let's spread the love!


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 writettrs 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.

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contents mind 19.......6 steps to conquering self­doubt 44.......microadventures

47........can money buy happiness?

body 8......navigating eating disorder treatment as a vegan

11......let food be thy medicine

40......plant based food myths debunked

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soul 24.......healthy eating is a spiritual action 38......meditation for sadness and depression 53......taking inspiration from our childhood selves

planet 5......wild and vegan: how foraging can strengthen our connection to veganism 33......beautiful planet - nature photos

50........starting a vertical garden

beings 14......are zoos good or bad?

21......why it's going to be hard to be a vegetarian in 2019 not bombs: Defiantly Highlighting Tampa’s Invisible Population

43.......caveman (a poem)

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Wild and Vegan How foraging can strengthen our connection to nature and veganism

by Valerie Zemba Deep in the cool shadows of the woods, on the jagged rocks as the ocean tides recede, or between the cracks of the city sidewalks, edible plants are all around us. Everywhere you go on Earth, to the trained and observant eye there are delicious and novel edible plants and fungi. Of the possibly hundreds of thousands of edible plants, only around 200 are commonly eaten around the world. The majority of us are completely unaware of the huge number of food possibilities going uneaten, and untasted. With a little practice and education, the new tastes and textures of the wild world are achievable and rewarding, no matter who you are or where you live.

Foraging Connect s Us wit h Nat ure

Foraging brought me out into nature. It all started with wild mushrooms, and much of my foraging is still in search of new, fantastical fungi. Days that might have been spent indoors became quests ­ into the woods in search of the elusive golden chanterelle, or biking past fields, eyes straining to spot a giant white puffball somewhere in it. Whilst I was there, I learned to appreciate plants ­

goldenrod and queen anne’s lace found their way into my tea, wild blueberries became a staple foraging snack, and the vines of grape leaves became dinner. I became ever more observant of the animals living around the fungi and plants. I came across snakes, sunbathing by the water, and swans, aggressively guarding their nests. A rabbit would eye me warily from the shadows of a bush, whilst squirrels chattered carelessly overhead. I hunted high and low to find my food, passing on plants that were too old and leaving some smaller ones to grow ­ I could always come back. I made sure never to harvest too much. Plants exist to feed both human and non­human animals, and any mushroom or berry I leave behind will go to feed the next soul who passes by.

Foraging Connect s Us wit h Veganism

Not only did foraging expand my sense of nature, but it deepened and strengthened my veganism. Each new plant I eat is a revelation how much veganism can be ­ so much more than I ever thought possible. I tried flavor combinations I wouldn’t have thought of before (such as

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minty bursts of wintergreen berries in my strawberry rhubarb pie), or flavors I never thought I’d taste again (such as the chicken of the woods mushroom, which has a flavor and texture surprisingly similar to chicken). As a vegan, I started trying more foods than ever. Foraging also put me in touch with where my food came from and how it grew. Many people who eat meat would be alarmed and put off by the prospect of having to procure their own bacon, but finding my own food fills me with a sense of joy and accomplishment. I know that no animals or people were mistreated in the process of that plant making its way onto my table. I also cook in ways I wouldn’t have before. I try new techniques ­ infusing butter with lavender for a frosting, or making jelly from a sweetened wildflower tea. Pureed pawpaw is the perfect addition to a vegan caramel sauce, and almost any delicate or sweet wild plant can be made at home in a shortbread cookie. With so many new flavors to try, my cooking repertoire has blossomed.

How you can st art foraging

The absolute most important thing for any new forager (or experienced forager!) is safety. Whilst many plants are edible, some will make you sick, and others can even kill you. Never eat a plant without being absolutely sure of what it is. There is a common saying in the foraging community­ “When in doubt, do without.” Simple and to the point, although I somewhat prefer, “There are old mushroomers, and bold mushroomers, but there are no old, bold mushroomers”, or, if you’re feeling dark, “All mushrooms are edible ­ some only once”. Trying new plants and mushrooms is an exciting and enriching experience, but it’s not worth risking your health. Use the resources you have available well. There are many helpful books and websites you can use to make identifications. If you consult public forums such as a Facebook group, do so warily ­ you don’t know the level of expertise or the intentions of those offering help. As a new forager, find a local expert to verify your IDs ­ you may even have a club in your area that can lead you on the way.

If you’ve positively identified a plant or mushroom, still practice caution. Eat a little before you eat a lot ­ since you’ve likely never had that particular plant, it’s always possible you’re allergic or sensitive to it.

Good beginner plant s /fungi

As a beginner forager, a lot of risk can be avoided by foraging for the right plants. As you get more familiar with the flora in your area, you’ll be more observant of the subtle differences that separate the choice boletus bicolor from the poisonous boletus sensibilis. But until that point, it is best to stick to plants without poisonous look­a­ likes. Here are three good edibles for beginners ­ they are easy to ID, widespread, and common, and there isn’t much that looks like them.


The beautiful, sunny dandelion may be a weed to some, but others find it to be a delicious edible. Because of their weed status, it is important you verify that the locations where you pick dandelions have not been sprayed with herbicides or anything else harmful to your health. Dandelions can be found on sidewalks and lawns, in urban and rural areas. Their leaves form from a singular base (often referred to as a rosette), and are toothed (jagged around the edges), smooth and hairless. The leaves, roots and flowers of these plants can be eaten. The roots are most commonly used fresh for tea, or dried and powdered as a coffee substitute. The yellow flowers can also be used to make tea, but are also often aged into a wine, battered and fried, or enjoyed as a salad topper. The leaves are best in the early spring and in the fall, but they can be quite bitter. To reduce the bitterness a little, boil before using. They can be used to make pesto, or in similar ways to how you would use kale or arugula. >

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Chicken of t he woods

Japanese knot weed

Chicken of the Woods is one of the most identifiable and unique­tasting wild mushrooms there is. They have a taste and texture that is surprisingly similar to chicken (a good substitute, if chicken is something you miss). They are fairly large, and appear in varying shades of bright orange and yellow. The bottom side has pores (small holes), not gills (like a common oyster or portabello mushroom). They grow on dead or dying trees ­ ones that appear to grow out of the ground may be growing on buried roots ­ in shelf­like clusters or rosettes, and have no real stem. They can be found most commonly in the fall, and are very widespread. Young species are better, as they become more brittle and woody as they age. Always make sure to cook mushrooms that you find, for safety’s sake. I have made delicious versions of butter “chicken”, pad kee mao, “chicken” piccatta, and “chicken” salad using this mushroom.

Japanese Knotweed is the perfect early spring edible. Before most other plants have emerged, knotweed starts poking out its green and red head. It is somewhat reminiscent of bamboo, and the stalks are hollow. It is invasive in most places in the world. It comes up fairly early in the spring ­ the stalk is light green with a red head or buds. While Japanese knotweed can grow ten or more feet tall, it’s only edible when it’s around 1 foot or less. After that point, the stalk becomes quite woody and inedible. Only ever eat the stalk, not the leaves or buds. Young knotweed can be used in place of rhubarb ­ the taste is similar, but less sour and slightly more lemony. It is perfect in jams, jelly, crisps, pies or even a salsa. SM

About the writer Valerie Zemba is the creator, owner and author of Very Vegan Val. She is an avid forager, and enjoys getting out into nature and identifying plants. When she is not collecting, making, or thinking about food, she enjoys painting and other forms of arts and crafting (e.g. reupholstering old, tattered furniture), going on adventures, riding roller coasters, and finding great deals at thrift shops.

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Navigating Eating Disorder Treatment

as a Vegan Mikah Victoria shares her story and insights

I was diagnosed with an eating disorder at the age of 16, and I entered a partial hospitalization program when I was 17. For 1 year before entering treatment, I had been vegan. When choosing a center to pursue treatment in, I found one factor that made me want to avoid recovery.

Anti�vegan policies When going onto the websites of most treatment centers, I found that they were united in not allowing veganism, vegetarianism, or any other dietary restrictions in their programs.

and drank milk for four and a half months. This really hurt me, and I believe that it was a hurdle to overcome in my recovery. But it also allowed me to practice patience, motivated me to get out of there so I could eat what I wanted again, and gave me time to meditate on my philosophy. I think the time I spent having to eat vegetarian has given me a few key pieces of advice for people with the same struggle as myself. >

The treatment center I ended up going to allowed vegetarianism, but not veganism. So I swallowed my pride

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Understand that your caregivers do want the best for you When I first entered my partial hospitalization program, I felt like the people in charge of my diet were trying to break me. I thought they wanted me to change my morals and make me give up on the things I felt most passionate about. As time went on and I progressed in my treatment, however, I realized that they weren't trying to convert me. They were in fact just trying to convince me to eat anything! As a habitual calorie restricter, it was my mind which was trying to break me.

attachment. Many people I was in treatment with saw meat as a safe food and thus saw it as an inextricable piece of their psyche. I drew a parallel to this when analyzing my own pre­recovery diet, in that I saw consuming an almost entirely fruit­based diet as a way to comfort myself from the ills of my disorder. Once I came to understand that certain foods were being used as coping mechanisms in different ways for different people, I realized that although I could see the cruelty in their dietary decisions, it was not the time to be showing them how they could change. I could save that for later.

Once I realized that my caregivers were looking out for me, I found it easier to open up in group therapy, and I noticed that my ability to avoid restrictive urges was improving all because I felt that others cared.

Mindfulness when eating was a make‐or‐break factor in my recovery

Whilst I know that they cared about my wellbeing, I believe in my heart that they (my caregivers and the majority of people) are just not in a place where they can accept new ethical values. This leads me to my second point.

When I first entered the partial hospitalization program, I ate robotically. Eating was a hurdle to get over before I could do things that I placed more value on. When reflecting on my history of restricting calories, I realized something that increased my ability to be mindful.

An eating disorder recovery center is not prime real estate for converting people to veganism

Eating according to my values

I'm very proud to say that in my life as a vegetarian and then a vegan, I have converted at least 4 people in my immediate friendship groups or family to plant­based diets. Because of this, I feel that I am a particularly good advocate for veganism/vegetarianism. My style of inspiration is (in my opinion) pretty lax. It generally consists of showing people that it isn't hard to change your habits, and exemplifying that plant­based eaters can be healthy and happy.

This doesn't just apply to eating vegan, it also applies to avoiding more harmful plant foods such as palm oil. I find that when I end up in a place where I must consume palm oil or animal products, I try my best to leave my body so as to feel less like a hypocrite. Less shame. Less guilt. These feelings of guilt, shame and, hypocrisy were very linked to my tendency to restrict. Since leaving the treatment program and resuming my plant­based diet, I have developed a better ability to be mindful; thus over time, I experience less and less guilt when I eat. >

In a place as hostile as an eating disorder treatment center, my advocacy style briefly went out the window as I was confronted with a multitude of people who had eating patterns that I just couldn't understand (they likely couldn't understand mine either). I was shocked to see people who had not only a strong taste and tradition­based attachment to meat, but people who had an intense fear­based

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Others' critiques of your diet, if unfounded, should be seen merely as baseless attempts to change you Some may say when I type this out that I am being hypocritical, as someone who critiques diets such as the "carnivore diet". But the most important part of my statement is the phrase "if unfounded". This means, in context, that if the person doesn't have your best interests at heart, doesn't base their criticism on science or ethics, or makes their critique in a way that hurts you, their critique is null and void. Critiques that fit the criteria of being unfounded include: "Don't you want to eat everything?" "Vegans don't care about people"

These can be juxtaposed with non­dogmatic critiques such as: "Eating more calories would be good for you" "Consider the lives of sentient beings before making decisions" "Beans are a healthy thing to eat" "Consider eating a higher ratio of protein" "Maybe eat fewer processed foods so you'll feel better." Do you see the contrast? I suppose this can be summarized by the statement "be compassionate". As vegans, we have a lot of compassion, shown by how we make changes to our lifestyles when we see wrongs in our decisions.

"Fruit is the least healthy thing you can eat" "You're an a**hole if you're vegan" "Nobody likes vegans"

If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder, be compassionate not just to others but to yourself, and make the rational decision to seek help. Nobody will get mad at you for complying with the rules given to you by your caregivers. SM

"You're a murderer because of how you eat"

About the writer Mikah Victoria is an 18­year­old blogger from Texas. She writes about her experiences and opinions as a vegan, a woman of color, a teenager, a polyglot, and the proud carer of 5 adorable animals on her blog

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let food be thy medicine Deborah Bostock‐Kelley shares how a plant‐based, gluten‐free lifestyle helped her and her husband overcome their chronic health issues. If you are what you eat, then until my dad’s diagnosis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2008, I was meat, fish, dairy, coffee, eggs, fast food, and junk food. I didn’t think anything of it. I’m 6’3, thin and have a high metabolism ­ eating badly didn’t bother me. Or so I thought. I didn’t grasp that my poor diet had been impacting me and my family for a very long time. Two years after the birth of my miracle baby, beginning in 1996, I was always tired and achy, and if you sneezed on the other side of the room, I’d be sick for weeks. I didn’t realize that this actually meant anything, that I could possibly be harming myself with my poor food choices. By the time my dad’s diagnosis came, I looked perfectly

healthy on the outside, but my body was fighting itself on the inside and I’d become a poster child for non­fatal, incurable autoimmune syndromes and diseases. I’d racked up multiple diagnoses ­ a heart­shaped tilted uterus, TIA mini­stroke, Costocondritis, chronic anemia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Endometriosis, Interstitial Cystitis, Mitro Valve Prolapse, fibrocystic breasts, venous insufficiency, mild Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Reynaud’s Syndrome, Epstein Barr Virus and Hashimoto’s Disease with a nodule on my thyroid the doctor was watching ­ and probably several other long names that I can’t remember. Though none of these was going to kill me, no­one had a cure. In 2008, after years of bad eating, I rushed my husband to the ER with blood sugar levels of 400. Along with dealing with

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my health issues, he had to begin his personal journey with Type 2 diabetes. In 2016, with little dietary change other than stevia instead of sugar, he was put on daily insulin injections. In early 2016, since none of the medications the doctors gave me were doing anything to relieve my symptoms ­ non­ hormonal hot flashes, brain fog, numbness, tingling, heart palpitations, chest pain, migraines, inflammation, general exhaustion and all­over pain ­ I figured I had nothing left to lose. I started partially following my mom’s blog, a food protocol for my dad – no gluten, no red meat, no milk. Reluctantly, a few months later, my husband followed suit. In mid­2016, on my quest for a homeopathic cure, I read that coffee inhibited T4 to T3 conversion, worsened PMS, could cause fatigue, and could be inflammatory for some people, so my Starbucks fix stopped cold­turkey. I discovered Teeccino Mocha Roasted Herbal Tea, and if I pretended, it was almost close to the real thing. On the same day, I also stopped eating anything containing wheat or gluten. Though I have never been diagnosed as celiac, everything I read about my laundry list of diagnoses warned that gluten/wheat exacerbated the symptoms.

Quitting coffee and the food I thoroughly enjoyed and took for granted was one of the hardest things I had ever done. No more Mochachinos, lattes, bread, pasta, cake, pie, donuts, croissants, pizza, or fried anything. I thought it would be the most difficult task on the planet and I would fail within the first month. Nearly every product I loved contained wheat. I had to scan every jar, package and box for hidden wheat in the ingredients. Around the same time, I discovered the healing benefits of ginger milk. I made my own variation with organic oregano tea, lemon, ginger, fermented turmeric, pepper, coconut oil, monk fruit sugar, and almond milk. I drank this almost every morning, and especially any time, I felt a scratchy throat or sniffly nose. Four months into following my dad’s modified diet and drinking my odd concoction, I noticed my ankles and fingers weren’t swelling, my back didn’t hurt after working 10 hours, and I wasn’t falling asleep at my desk. I discovered I could be in a room of sick people and not get so much as a tickle in my throat. I decided if this diet worked for me, my husband should try it. Together, we discovered that many options actually existed for a gluten­free lifestyle.

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"Hippocrates knew the truth centuries ago ‐ let food be thy medicine." Fast forward to July 3, 2017. After prepping our Independence Day BBQ items for the holiday the next day, my husband and I sat down to Netflix and chill. A documentary called “What The Health” caught our eye, and at its conclusion, we made a life­changing decision. My husband opened the refrigerator and emptied it of everything that contained dairy, eggs, or meat, including a marinating rack of pork ribs. Many have said the documentary we watched was propaganda, but at that point, it didn’t matter. It was the impetus to pointing us in the direction of a healthier vegan lifestyle. This was another monumental step. Now we had to find ingredients that were not just gluten­free, but vegan too. Like many other misinformed people, I thought we’d only be eating veggies for meals. Thankfully, the plant­ based lifestyle is much more exciting than that. We began finding fun recipes and making them our own, substituting egg replacer for egg and almond or coconut milk for dairy.

In April 2018, I had my annual blood workup. The doctor had to mark me as a new patient, as I had not been seen or sick since June 2016, which coincidentally was when I started drinking my weird oregano milk tea. The sky­high numbers that had indicated Hashimotos had dropped to 350; it was barely detectable, and for all intents and purposes, in remission. I was no longer anemic after 22 years. Three months later, I had the annual ultrasound of the nodule on my thyroid. It was no longer present. If you are what you eat, today I am fresh vegetables, fruits, and an occasional gluten­free, vegan food substitute. Sometimes, I still miss crusty warm bread, pizza with crispy burnt edges, and ooey­gooey cheese, but I know the repercussions for my body of indulging in my bad old habits. I’d seen the message on billboards, on TV, in print ads, everywhere ­ Hippocrates knew the truth centuries ago. Let food be thy medicine. If only I’d paid attention 22 years ago.

Though some may have contended that a vegan lifestyle meant eating only fruits and vegetables, we had enjoyed all types of foods for so long that we needed to find substitutes. Brands like Violife, KiteHill, Beyond Meat, Gardein, Sensible Portions, Earth Balance, Namaste, Daiya, Louisville, and NadaMoo became household names. We didn’t limit the possibilities. If a wheat pasta recipe called for ground beef, we’d substitute Beyond Meat Crumbles and Ronzoni Gluten Free 4­Grain Pasta.

Learn more about cancer­fighting foods at and about our gluten­free, vegan journey at SM

For someone who usually avoided my husband’s domain, the kitchen, I actually became quite proficient at finding tasty substitutions, and in the process I learned to cook by investing in an InstaPot, Air Fryer and Vitamix, and creating new recipes from unusual food finds like jackfruit to make pisole, BBQ, and tacos.

Deborah Bostock­Kelley is a journalist, playwright,

By the close of 2017, my husband had reduced his insulin intake, lost 75 pounds, and dropped two pant sizes and one shirt size. Though I was not dealing with a weight issue, I went back to the weight I was before I had my daughter, and we both felt good.

About the writer

producer, director, actress, author, Broadway World theatre critic, owner of The WriteOne Creative Services, & founder of Life Amplified variety showcase for charity. She is loving the plant­based lifestyle and was excited to pass the one­year mark on July 3, 2018.

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are zoos good or bad? THE TRUTH ABOUT ZOOS seedling magazine | 14

Going to the zoo is often seen as a fun, harmless activity to do with kids. Many children love animals and are excited to see the exotic creatures they have read about in picture books. We are told that zoos are educational and important for conservation. But others say it is cruel to keep wild animals in captivity. So which is true? Let's take a look. Are zoos important for conservation? Zoos like to claim that they are doing important work by helping to conserve endangered species. However, most of the species kept in zoos are not endangered ­ so why are they there? Even when endangered animals are kept and bred in zoos, they are rarely released into the wild. What is the conservation value of breeding an endangered species and forcing it to spend its entire life in a cage? This does nothing to help keep ecosystems in balance or promote biodiversity. Additionally, zoos typically only bother with ‘popular’ animals such as elephants, tigers and giraffes. There are many less popular species which are endangered, but these are ignored by zoos. Though most zoo animals these days are bred in captivity, some ­ such as elephants ­ may be taken from the wild. Some animals are even illegally trafficked and sold to zoos. This makes the claim that zoos are important for conservation seem ludicrous. It's important to remember that the zoos are businesses which exist to make a profit. Their objective is to use animals as entertainment in order to make money, not to conserve the animals. There are many specialist organisations which are far better equipped to carry out wildlife conservation.

Are zoos educational? Imagine you are transported thousands of miles from home ­ say to the Arctic ­ and put in a small enclosure on your own. You have little in the way of entertainment, and are not able to carry out your normal activities such as preparing food and socialising. In all likelihood, you will become depressed and miserable. If aliens came to Earth, would studying you be a good way for them to educate themselves about the human race?


This suggestion is clearly absurd, but is it really any different to what we do to animals? Most animals in zoos are a long way from their natural habitat, be that the rainforest, the Arctic or the desert. In the wild, they may range many miles in a single day ­ in zoos, they are confined to small enclosures. Is it really educational to gawp at a miserable polar bear lying on a concrete slab, in a small enclosure with no ice or snow in sight? It's important to remember that many animals live in herds or packs in the wild. Animals in captivity, on the other hand, are often kept on their own or in pairs. Not only is this an inaccurate representation of the way they live, it also leads to loneliness and boredom. If you want your children to learn about animals, you would be better off showing them nature documentaries than taking them to a zoo.

Are animals safe in zoos? Zoos may not be perfect, but at least the animals are safe there, right? They are fed, cared for and protected from predators. Unfortunately, humans are often the most dangerous animal as far as zoo animals are concerned. Zoos like to breed baby animals because they are popular with visitors, but once they have grown up, they may no longer be wanted. They might be slaughtered, or sold on to those who care little for their welfare. Unwanted zoo animals have even been known to end up in circuses. Animals in zoos are in a very vulnerable position, unable to defend themselves and at the mercy of humans. In the past,

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"Some say there are good and bad zoos. This may be true, in the same sense that there are good and bad prisons." they have been poisoned, starved and even burnt when there is a fire at the zoo. Animals have also become ill from eating rubbish that people throw into their enclosures. When an emergency such as a natural disaster occurs, they are not given priority and they may simply be left to die.

Are animals happy in zoos?

about time we admitted that zoos are a purely selfish invention, designed to entertain us at the animals’ expense. Animals do not enjoy being stared at and deprived of their privacy, and it is certainly not necessary to put them on display in order to ‘conserve’ them ­ in fact, it is nothing short of demeaning. Ironically, there would be no need for any form of conservation if humans had not destroyed the animals’ habitats in the first place. Some say there are good and bad zoos. This may be true, in the same sense that there are good and bad prisons. A good prison is still a prison. Even if the animals are relatively well cared for and not abused, it is doubtful that they are happy. So what can be done? Zoos can only function if they make money. Quite simply, we need to stop supporting them. Without our money, they will be forced to close. So boycott zoos ­ animals are not entertainment. Some countries are already talking about banning zoos, and I think the time will soon come when the whole world recognises them for what they truly are. But until then, we must all do our bit to raise awareness and stop animal cruelty from being profitable. SM This article was originally published here.

My parents occasionally took me to zoos and safari parks as a kid, and I remember that they never quite lived up to my expectations. The animals always seemed bored and restless, and many tried to hide away from prying eyes of the visitors. Given the information we’ve looked at so far, it should go without saying that zoo animals are not happy ­ in fact, some have even been put on anti­depressants. If you go to the zoo, you may see animals rocking back and forth, pacing, or displaying other odd, repetitive behaviours. These neurotic behaviours are a sign that the animals’ mental health is suffering, and are never seen in the wild.

What's the solution? It is a uniquely human trait that we can put animals in cages, far from their natural habitats and other members of their species, and claim that we are doing them a favour. It's

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i am

larger, better than i thought...

...i did not know i held so much

goodness �walt whitman seedling magazine | 18

6 Steps To Conquering Self-Doubt From journalist to plant­based nutritionist ­ how Farin Montanez overcame her self­doubt to make a daunting career change Self­doubt is the number­one killer of dreams. It paralyzes us if we allow it to. It renders us unable to take a single step toward our goals, because we assume we lack what is necessary to achieve them. I should know; I am stricken with self­doubt nearly every day. But every day, I work through an exercise to conquer it. When I was laid off as a journalist last year, I had two options: try to find another job in the dying newspaper industry, or switch careers. The first option scared me, because I had seen fellow laid­off journalists search for months for another position without success. The second option scared me even more. I had been a published newspaper journalist since the age of 15. What else could I do? As much as I wanted to turn my passions ­­ plant­ based nutrition, running, and raising a healthy family ­­ into a career, I didn’t know if I could actually make a living doing it.

My dream was to help other families switch to a plant­based diet and lead more active lifestyles. In this way, I could improve their health and the health of the planet, and reduce animal suffering. But that was such a huge switch from my journalism background, and I was afraid I wasn’t enough of an expert in nutrition and health to help others. Thankfully, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my three decades on this planet, it’s that the only worthwhile dreams are the ones that scare you the most. So I decided to go with option two, and just figure it out. The trick to conquering self­doubt is to refute the lies you are telling yourself. In this way, you can grow into a person who can accomplish the fearsome goal. See, it’s not about who you are now. It’s about who you want to be.

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I wanted to be a plant­based nutritionist and health coach. So I took the steps necessary to become those things. Then I wanted to create an e­course that would teach new vegans what to eat, how to prepare it, and how to get adequate macro­ and micronutrients for optimal health. So I did. Of course, I doubted myself along the way. I often asked myself, "Who are you to be doing this?" I told myself that there were better nutritionists out there. There were better chefs out there. There were better teachers and coaches out there. I was a just a little nobody with a big dream. In those moments, I’d feel very afraid that I was going down a road toward failure and debt. But if I had let fear keep its grip on me, I wouldn't have been able to help so many people transition to a plant­based diet. To conquer fear and self­doubt, I decided to voice my insecurities aloud and then explain to myself why those insecurities were lies. Then I rewrote my goals as if I’d already accomplished them, and read them aloud to myself. This tactic removed the mental blocks that were getting in the way of me becoming the person who achieved the goals. Here’s an example:

myself from getting stuck. Don’t let self­doubt kill your dreams. Try the 6­step process to conquering it. SM How to Conquer Self-Doubt 1. What is the aspect of yourself that you are doubting, or that you feel insecure about? Write it down, with an actual pen and paper. 2. Read it out loud. 3. Recognize that insecurity as a lie, and refute it. It helps to imagine you are saying this to a loved one, like a partner or child. 4. Write down the truth. 5. Rewrite your goal as if it already happened, using the truth you’ve just figured out. 6. Keep moving forward and become the person who accomplished that goal.

Insecurity: “I’m not a chef, so no one is going to buy my e­course about plant­based cooking.” Refute the lie: “You may not be a trained chef, but you are great at plant­based cooking and you can help others who know nothing about vegan cooking. It will be less intimidating for them to learn essential cooking and meal prep skills from you rather than from a gourmet vegan chef, anyway.” Rewrite the goal as if it’s already happened: “New vegans are finding and purchasing your course every day because you teach them step­by­step how to cook plant­based foods and meal prep for the week. Your course is full of valuable tutorials, and you are changing the world little by little by making it easier for people to stop eating animals.” Through this mindset shift, I created my e­course and enrolled students, started coaching moms one­on­one, and wrote a couple of recipe books.

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. Check out her e-course on plant-based meal prepping at

But my mindset work is never over. Self­doubt is a constant struggle, and I have to do this exercise continually to keep

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why it’s going to be

hard to be a vegetarian in 2019 2018 might well have been the year of the vegan. In 2012, an NDNS survey found that roughly 2% of the UK population was meat­free, equivalent to 1.2 million vegetarians. By 2018, this had risen to 3.25%, meaning 62.5% more people were vegetarian. By contrast, vegan numbers have risen from the more modest 150,000 (0.25% of the UK population) in 2014 to 600,000 by 2018 – a remarkable increase of 300%, with four times as many vegans as just four years previously. 1.16% of the population now considers themselves vegan, with young people leading the numbers (42% of vegans are in the 15­34 age category). Vegans still lag behind vegetarians in terms of numbers, but the rise in the lifestyle exceeds that of vegetarianism. Since 2015, “vegan” has begun to overtake “vegetarian” as a search term on Google, with the popularity of “vegan” more than twice that of “vegetarian” as of September 2018. Apart from the numbers and statistics, we’ve also seen veganism hit the mainstream in a big way. Celebrities such as heartthrob Zac Efron and singer went vegan (with the latter giving us the #Vgang hashtag), joining other plant­ based A­listers and cultural icons such as Sia, Beyoncé, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ariana Grande, Bryan Adams, Peter

by Laura Maria Grierson Dinklage, Russell Brand, Mayim Bialik, Ellie Goulding, Jessica Chastain, Woody Harrelson, Darren Aronofsky, and Liam Hemsworth. In London alone, there are almost 150 exclusively vegan restaurants and shops, and with ethical eating in the public eye, this number looks set to increase. So why is veganism looking to overtake vegetarianism? The simple fact is that the primary reasons people go vegetarian are also applicable to going vegan – so whatever the reason for ditching meat, eggs and dairy should be the next to go.

1. Health In 2015, the World Health Organization announced its position that both red and processed meats were linked with cancer in humans. Red meat was classified as Group 2A, due to “epidemiological studies showing positive associations between eating red meat and developing colorectal cancer as well as strong mechanistic evidence” , and processed meat was labelled Group 1, meaning the evidence that processed meat is carcinogenic is as strong as the evidence for cigarettes and asbestos. The WHO’s analysis found that “every 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by about 18%.” Meat isn’t good for us, and our protein needs can be met by vegetables, pulses, and faux­

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meat alternatives without the saturated fat, cholesterol, and carcinogens. But giving up eggs and milk can seem extreme when we’re taught from a young age that they’re a vital part of a healthy diet. We’re told that eggs are a good source of protein, and that without milk we’d develop rotten teeth, osteoporosis, and shattered bones. In fact, one study found that high milk intake was associated with a greater chance of bone fracture, and another study concluded that calcium intake had no effect on preventing fractures at all. Animal milk does contain a lot of calcium, but it also contains animal protein, which leaches calcium from the bones so it is excreted in the urine. This is because animal foods contain two to five times more sulphur­ containing amino acids, which acidify the blood, than plant foods. Milk is actually making our bones weaker, not stronger. Considerable evidence also exists to suggest that dairy is a risk factor for cancer. Calcium can be found in a wide variety of plant foods, including tofu, broccoli, kale, spinach, chia seeds, almonds, and plant milks. Eggs can also be substituted for any protein­ rich food source such as tofu and chickpeas.

(plus the water needed to grow their feed crops), and producing a lot of methane, which is 84% more effective at trapping heat than carbon dixoide. And what’s worse is that the rainforests and plants that we need to absorb these greenhouse gases are being felled for grazing and to grow animal feed. Water is also wasted; it takes a lot more water to produce a litre of cows’ milk than a litre of soya milk, since cows need

"It could even be argued that any use of an animal, including backyard hens and cows that get to keep their calves, is exploitative; we have no right to take what their bodies make for our own use, particularly when we don’t need to." to drink water and their feed must be also watered – and that’s without mentioning the run­off of slurry into rivers and lakes.

Leaving out the animal protein hasn’t slowed down an array of vegan athletes from competing at the top. Serena Williams, regularly ranked as world No. 1 in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association, has won the US open three times since going vegan in 2012. Four­time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton kept his edge with a plant­based diet, and renowned American football player Colin Kaepernick, who has been vegan since 2015, recently became the face of Nike.

Egg production still confines thousands of birds to small spaces – whether they're caged or “free­range.” And these chickens need to eat; battery­caged chickens require 2kg of feed to produce 1kg of eggs, with free­range chickens needing roughly 20% more feed. It’s an inefficient way of eating, and that’s without considering the toxic effects of keeping so many animals in such small spaces, including high levels of ammonia.

2. Environment

3. Ethics

With the amount of water, deforestation, and pollution it takes to create one beef burger, it’s ridiculous to consider yourself an environmentalist and still eat meat. After fossil fuels, animal agriculture is the leading cause of human­made greenhouse gas emissions, which are contributing to global warming and its disastrous effects. It’s also having a massive impact on our landscape. One study suggests that replacing beef with plants in the standard diet would reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 96%. But is it enough to swap from meat­eater to vegetarian?

A lot of people have stopped eating animals simply because they couldn’t reconcile their desire to eat meat with their desire not to harm animals. Eating part of a dead body, even if it’s cut to look otherwise, is a direct reminder that an animal was killed its flesh. Since animal products like dairy and eggs aren’t a part of the body and don’t necessitate killing, it can be easy to overlook the harm inherent in them, particularly with “welfare” labels such as “free range” and “organic”. But cows and chickens still suffer under contemporary farming practices. It could even be argued that any use of an animal, including backyard hens and cows that get to keep their calves, is exploitative; we have no right to take what their bodies make for our own use, particularly when we don’t need

Regardless of whether you’re eating beef or drinking milk, those cows are eating a lot of grain, drinking a lot of water

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to. In order for a cow to produce milk, she must first give birth to an infant, just like any other mammal ­ including humans. Most cows are artificially inseminated, meaning a farmer buys bull’s sperm and forces it into the cow. Just like us, cows are pregnant for nine months, and when they give birth they have strong mothering instincts. When the first colostrum milk (which is unsuitable for humans to drink) is replaced with normal cow’s milk, the calves are separated from their mothers, which is highly distressing for both the mother and her baby: the mother’s milk is extracted for human consumption, and the calf is fed a cheap milk replacer for five to six weeks instead of the usual six to twelve months of suckling. Female calves are then reared to replace the culled females, whilst the males are slaughtered at a young age. Young calves which are killed and eaten at under a month old are known as bobby calves, but since the market for this is low in the UK, they are either shot shortly after birth – which shocked British viewers when the scenes were aired on a 2012 Channel 4 documentary – or exported for veal. As for the mothers, a dairy cow’s natural lifespan is twenty­ five years: by the time she is six years old, her body is worn out by constant pregnancies and feeding, and she is slaughtered for cheap meat. The milk industry claims its victims just as the animal flesh industries do.

these male chicks wouldn’t put on enough weight to be economically viable. So 50% of chickens bred for eggs don’t live past a day old – thirty to forty million chicks every year in the UK. The females have their beaks trimmed without anaesthetic to prevent them from cannibalising each other under the stress of their conditions. They are sent to growing facilities until they reach maturity, at which point they will be transported to either colony cages or barns. Once egg production drops at around one year of age (the birds' natural lifespan is seven years), the chickens are sent to a slaughterhouse, where they suffer the same slaughter methods as meat­reared chickens. They're either gassed or electrocuted, and then have their throats cut. Killing animals is as much a part of the egg and dairy industries as it is the meat industry. Whether they’re slaughtered shortly after birth or later on at a fraction of their natural lifespan, no animal produced for commercial gain escapes exploitation.

Veganism isn’t fringe: it’s easy Even ten years ago, “veganism” connoted shapeless hemp smocks, lentil stews, and raw tofu: now, it’s grown into a popular multi­faceted movement. Whether it’s raw food, home­made alternatives to familiar favourites, or pure junk food, there’s a vegan meal to satisfy every craving. Supermarkets stock vegan alternatives to milk, cheese, and yoghurt, and restaurants are getting savvy to a growing vegan consumer base and catering to requirements. With a thriving community online (and the chances are that you know a vegan yourself) there’s always help available to make the transition. SM

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 Egg­laying chickens are also abused in agriculture. Since male chicks are incapable of laying eggs, they are sorted after hatching and immediately gassed to death. Broiler (meat) chickens are bred differently to egg­laying breeds, and so

fiction and non­fiction, and her poetry and short stories have been published in UK anthologies.

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healthy eating is a

spirit ual act ion Healthy eating is generally framed as having a purely biological impact on us. We are often motivated to eat healthily so we can lose weight, avoid developing diseases and be in good shape to take part in sports or other activities. We may see healthy eating as something that's nice to do if we have the time and energy, but not something to worry too much about when we aren't able to prioritise it ­ unless we have a health scare, that is. But the impact of healthy eating ranges far beyond the physical, to the mental, emotional and even spiritual. The latter is what I want to take a look at today.

Healthy eating as self‐love For me, compassion is what spirituality is all about ­ that, and joy. And the key thing here is that compassion is not exclusive. To grow spiritually, we must extend it to everyone and everything, without reservation. That includes ourselves. The food we eat literally becomes us; the nutrients we take in are used to build our very cells. These days, what we choose to eat may be seen as no big deal, but in reality it is highly significant. So loving ourselves means giving our bodies the best raw materials possible. If we fill our bodies with foods that clog our arteries, cause chronic disease and are deficient in nutrients, then what does that say about how we think of ourselves? Not everyone is able to eat very healthily at every meal, but having compassion for ourselves means being conscious of

what we put into our bodies and doing the best we can with what we have.

Eating healthily to benefit others Most of us have the mindset that what we put in our bodies is our business ­ it doesn't affect anyone else, right? But real life is rarely that simple. Almost all our actions spill over to affect those around us. In terms of eating habits, the most obvious example is when they make us sick, meaning others have to take care of us. Many illnesses which are often seen as inevitable consequences of aging ­ heart disease, high blood pressure, some cancers, dementia, type 2 diabetes and so forth ­ are actually strongly linked to diet. We owe it to those who care about us to do all we can to preserve our health. Otherwise, they may have to endure the heartbreak of watching us suffer and deteriorate later on. It may also put them under a lot of stress if they have to take care of us. One of the most compassionate things we can do for our loved ones is to take care of ourselves. Our eating habits also influence those around us in other ways. For parents, it's especially important to set a good example. Kids are very perceptive, and will mimic their parents' actions. Telling your children about the benefits of healthy eating won't do much good if your habits send the opposite message. Our health is the most precious thing we have, and the most important thing we can pass on to our children. Eating habits established in childhood can affect us our whole lives ­ even what people eat whilst pregnant may be

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significant. That should give us pause. But those around us may also be affected in more subtle ways. When people see us eating healthily and thriving, it may influence them to do the same. My parents have vastly reduced their intake of dairy, for example, in large part because I introduced them to alternatives. They have both seen health improvements as a result. In fact, their diets have just generally shifted to become more plant­based, and the benefits have been clear. So eating healthily can be a form of showing compassion to others as well as ourselves. Find more on plant­based diets and spirituality here.

Health is vital for serving others Many spiritual people believe their purpose in life is to serve others. In order to do this to the best of our abilities, we need abundant energy, and we also need to feel joyful and at peace with the world. This is difficult to do if we are ill, or if the foods we are eating make us feel heavy and sluggish.

"When people see us eating healthily and thriving, it may influence them to do the same. So eating healthily can be a form of showing compassion to others."

choices, or feel guilty about having the occasional less healthy treat. At this point, healthy eating can become a source of stress. This is bad news, because being stressed causes health problems in its own right! So it's really important to find balance, and to do the best we can without beating ourselves up when we can't eat as well as we'd like to.

It's not just food! If we accept that healthy eating is a spiritual action, then there are other things which must be spiritual by extension. These include other ways of looking after our bodies, such as keeping fit and staying hydrated. Taking care of our mental health is really important too, as is learning skills that allow us to live and communicate harmoniously with others. So more and more, I'm coming to see self­improvement as a spiritual process. If nothing else, the more peaceful and joyful we are, the more pleasant it is for everyone around us! With regards to food, I'll leave you with one final thought: if we don't nourish our bodies, then how can we expect to nourish our souls? SM This article was originally published here.

Some people believe that eating fresh, whole foods raises our vibrations, making us more peaceful, compassionate and joyful. This concept may help you, if it resonates with you.

Can focusing on healthy eating ever be a bad thing? Making the best food choices possible can rarely be said to be a bad thing! But sometimes, the desire to eat healthily becomes more like an obsession. We may start to become stressed when we aren't in a position to make healthy food

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Recipes from vegan cooks Miggs McTaylor and Sarah Mordelt

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red pepper and pumpkin soup with soda bread

My whole family looks forward to pumpkin soup during the winter. It's quick and easy to make. I like to make mine with a puree of roasted red pepper, and top it with some type of crunchy garnish. It can be a really filling and satisfying meal, especially if you have something warm and freshly baked to dip in it, like soda bread (which is quick to make, as it doesn't require kneading or time to rise). Many soda bread recipes have a dairy base, but I use my favourite combo of oat milk and lemon juice to replace buttermilk. You could play around with the proportions and types of flours, but I find that too much rye or wholemeal makes it very dense. I like to add seeds for flavour and texture.

Seeded Soda Bread Ingredients 300g strong white flour ­ preferably stoneground 200g rye or wholemeal flour ½ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle for decoration 340 ml oat milk 60 ml lemon juice 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt Method 1. Mix your choice of flours and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and seeds ­ you can use sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or a combination of both ­ and mix them in. 2. Make a well in the flour and pour in your oat milk and lemon juice. 3. Mix up with your hand until it all comes together nicely – it should be soft, but not too wet. Do not knead it. 4. Turn out on to a clean dry surface and bring together into a round loaf. Slash the top. 5. Brush surface with oat milk, slash the surface, then sprinkle with seeds. 6. Bake at 220ºC for 10 minutes, then at 180ºC for 30 minutes.

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Pumpkin and Pepper Soup

Ingredients 2 red onion, finely chopped 2­3 stems of celery, finely chopped 1 Tablespoon oil (optional) 1 Tablespoon tomato puree 1/4 cup white wine or vermouth 1 Medium pumpkin 4 Roasted red peppers 1.5 ­ 2 litres of vegetable stock seasoning

Cook’s tip If you find it difficult to cut up your pumpkin, poke some holes into the pumpkin with a sharp knife (it is usually easiest around the stem) put in into a warm oven, and let it heat up until it softens enough to cut easily.

Method 1. Prepare your pumpkin ­ peel and cut into pieces, or shred/scrape the flesh away from the skin if you want to use the pumpkin for serving or for carving at Halloween. 2. In a heavy­based pot that is large enough to hold your soup, add oil and sauté the red onion and celery until they are soft and lightly coloured. Stir in the tomato puree and let it caramelise a little. When it is sticking to the bottom of your pot, pour in the wine and deglaze your pot, stir/scrap the caramelised tomato paste and mix with the wine. 3. You can roast your pumpkin first or add it straight into the onion and celery mix. Then pour on just enough stock to cover, put on a lid and simmer until the pumpkin is cooked enough to make a puree. 4. Blend your soup mix and roasted red peppers together ­ a stick blender is easiest, but any blender or food processor will do. Add more stock if needed to make it smooth. Depending on how big your pumpkin was and how thick you like your soup, add more vegetable stock. Season to taste. To make a simple soup seem more of party dish, I served it in a hollowed pumpkin, topped with crispy kale nests, parsnip crisps and toasted pumpkin seeds.

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Tofu scramble Serves 4 to 6

Some restaurants and cafes think that if you crush tofu in a pan and maybe add some turmeric it is a satisfactory alternative to scrambled eggs. It's not! This recipe has been tried and tested. I have taught it to young cooks and produced in large quantities to serve to many happy vegans and omnivores in a well足known vegan restaurant. I use grams and millilitres in this recipe, as it makes it easier to scale up a recipe accurately (but I have put measuring spoon equivalents). Too much tamari, nutritional yeast or turmeric can be overpowering and quite unpleasant to eat, so add a little at a time if you wish. The colour in the turmeric brightens with time, so don't be tempted to keep adding it until it's yellow, it makes the texture grainy.

Ingredients 450g firm tofu, crumbled 30ml (2 tbsp) tamari 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil 足 optional 2 cloves of garlic 足 micro足planed 50g (1/3 cup) shallots, finely diced 7g (2 tbsp) nutritional yeast 1g (1/4tsp) coarsely ground black pepper 2g (1tsp) ground turmeric

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Method 1. Open the packet of firm tofu and drain any liquid. Crumble into a bowl. 2. Grate or chop your garlic ­ I tend to use a micro plane and grate it directly into the frying pan 3. Measure your seasonings into a small container/bowl 4. Finely dice your shallots 5.Put your olive oil in a frying pan over medium­high heat, add the finely diced shallots and sauté until they are translucent and golden 6. Add the garlic and cook quickly, before adding the crumbled tofu and mixing with the shallots 7. Add the nutritional yeast, tamari, turmeric and black pepper, and “scramble” ingredients together until they are evenly mixed. Season to taste.

I prefer the texture when it has been batch­cooked and re­heated. Re­heating: heat a frying pan and add a small amount of oil to stop your scramble from sticking. Add the portions you wish to serve, and stir to heat through. If not serving immediately, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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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Tofu nuggets These healthy vegan tofu nuggets are not just oil­free and super crispy ­ they also have the perfect chewy texture. They are oil­free because we bake them in the oven instead of frying them. This also makes the whole preparation process much easier! To make the tofu nuggets, you first let them soak in a wet mixture so they don't dry up during baking. The wet mixture is simply a vegan buttermilk which you can make by combining soy milk and lemon juice. Soy milk works best for this as it richest in proteins. The wet mixture is also what makes the dry mixture stick to the tofu. For the dry mixture, you can use any variation of bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, almond meal, shredded coconut and spices. When you add the tofu cubes to the dry mixture, it helps to use a fork and tap it on the bowl a few times. This way, the excess soy milk stays in the wet mixture bowl and doesn't clump the dry mixture. The trick to getting these healthy vegan tofu nuggets super crispy without using oil is a high oven temperature. So before you even begin breading the nuggets, preheat your oven to 230°C/450°F. When you flip the tofu nuggets half way through baking, be careful and again, use a fork. Gently lift each nugget with the fork so that the breadcrumb coating doesn't remain stuck to the baking paper.

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– 1 block firm tofu (~200 g) wet mixture – 100 ml soy milk – juice of 1/2 lemon dry mixture – 50 g breadcrumbs – 2­3 tbsp nutritional yeast – 1/2 tsp paprika – 1/2 tsp garlic powder – salt – pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 230°C/450°F. Combine the ingredients for the wet mixture, stir and let sit for a couple of minutes. 2. Cut or break the tofu nuggets into little cubes of roughly the same size. Add them to the wet mixture and let them soak for a couple of minutes. 3. In the meantime, add the dry ingredients to a bowl and mix. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 4. Remove one tofu cube from the wet mixture and transfer to the dry mixture. Coat evenly, then transfer to the baking tray. Repeat with the remaining tofu. 5. Bake the tofu nuggets for 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through.

About the cook Sarah is a vegan recipe blogger living in Frankfurt. You can find her recipes here.

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beautiful planet Appreciating the world with photos of beautiful places

Carmarthenshire, Wales

Wiltshire, England seedling magazine | 33

Rhossili, Wales

Carmarthenshire, Wales

Wiltshire, England

Pendine, Wales

Do you have a beautiful nature photo from your part of the world? Submit it by emailing, 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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food not bombs Defiantly Highlighting Tampa’s Invisible Population

by Deborah Bostock‐Kelly

As an antithesis to today’s volatile political climate, a group of activists is peacefully demonstrating against war and public apathy. With branches in countries across every habitable continent, Food Not Bombs’ weapon of choice is love, compassion, and repurposed healthy vegetarian and vegan food donated by local restaurants and individuals. Twice a week, Food Not Bombs' Tampa chapter feeds the hundreds of homeless and hungry in Tampa who would otherwise do without. Dezeray Lyn, a member of the Tampa chapter, discovered Food Not Bombs at animal rights event in Philadelphia in 2006. She was inspired to share food on her own, and when she moved to Tampa, she immediately reached out to the local chapter. Early on Tuesdays and Saturday afternoons, she and 11 other members of the Tampa chapter set up in Lykes Gaslight Park, in the shadow of the Tampa Police Department downtown headquarters and the officers that made headlines in late 2017 for arresting them. The peaceable activists’ crime was serving coffee and bagels without a vendor permit, though they gave the food away and were never a vendor. Though the group had served in the same location for years, this particular arrest coincided with the College Football Playoff National Championship weekend. “If you are going to literally drag seven people away from a table in handcuffs because they’re sharing bagels and oatmeal with people who are suffering and food insecure, not a lot of

Dezeray Lyn people are going to look upon that as kind, thoughtful or something they want their tax dollars utilized for," says Dezeray. Volunteers were aware that showing this type of human kindness was illegal, but the cost of insurance for feeding

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breakfast and lunch twice a week was exorbitant. They did it anyway, and this isn’t the first time police harassment and arrests have been made for providing free food to the hungry without a permit. “These issues tend to boil over when there’s a high tourism dollar event going on,” says Dezeray. She is convinced that this is no coincidence. Is it a question of ‘out of sight, out of mind?’ If tourists don’t see the homeless sharing a meal and company with the volunteers, does the problem magically cease to exist in this billion­dollar tourist mecca? Dezeray has heard horror stories about the homeless being tormented and having their belongings destroyed, and she’s seen firsthand the cyclical process of arresting and releasing homeless men and women with mental health issues. “It’s heartbreaking. With proper medication and care, they could be living a full life, like anyone else.” She says the term 'community' tends only to be applied to the people who have the resources to be part of it. “During times when people will be in our city to see what’s actually going on, the houseless are asked ‘hey, why don’t you disappear for a couple of weeks?’”, she says. “One pregnant houseless woman told me that they sent her to a street known for drug violence. Someone was actually sexually assaulted there twice and they sent her there, asking her to disappear until these events were over.” She found it ironic that the city of Tampa was cleared of the homeless for food events and festivals for people who could afford to eat it.

“It’s very obvious who the police are concerned with, and it’s not the people who are suffering and struggling the most and the food insecure in their community. The city wants to chase the houseless into invisibility so they can continue turning a tourist dollar profit. They don’t care about what’s happening to them, as long as it’s happening outside of the public eye. It’s no less than a tragedy what’s happening.” Though the chapters of Food Not Bombs are autonomous, they follow the same guiding principles. “We’re antimilitarist and non­violent – thus we serve vegetarian and vegan foods to reflect our commitment to nonviolence. To avert the staggering 40­60% food waste that goes into the garbage – foods that are still edible – instead of buying food, we repurpose foods into good meals to share with folks.” The chapter has partnerships with several local restaurants including Loving Hut, Panera Bread, Einstein Bagels, Chucks Natural Fields, Sweetwater Organic Farms, and Waters Ave Church. Rather than discarding and wasting perfectly edible food, volunteers visit the locations and pick up the donations, and they are always seeking new restaurants to donate. “At Loving Hut, we were there having their buffet a few years ago and we asked about the leftovers for Food Not Bombs. They asked if it was for the homeless and we said yes. They said every Saturday at 9:30, come by and we’ll give you the rest of our buffet,” she said. “It was as easy as that. There haven’t been many times since then where they haven’t donated an ocean of vegan foods that they were actually driving around and giving to people themselves before our partnership.” Dezeray said that the tenet and strong ethos that the

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“We don’t believe in a top­down charity model. We believe that all of our liberation is tied in with each other's. It’s not us and them. Folks that we share with help serve the food, unload and reload the cars, and wash items afterwards,” says Dezeray. “We’re very much involved in their lives and they’re involved in ours.”

“We’re in a city that has millions in profit from tourism dollars that can easily afford to lose an ice­skating rink, rather than losing houseless people due to malnourishment and untreated medical issues. Folks are not having access to the resources they need. Resources could be diverted to address their issues, but they need to see them as deserving and they don’t. They don’t see food and healthcare as a right; they see it as a privilege,” Dezeray says.

Despite their circumstances, the homeless men, women and children are never treated as less than. In addition to providing healthy meals, the organization volunteers provide first aid, hygiene products, books, solar cell phone chargers, emergency blankets, ponchos and insect repellant. Activists will accept mail for them, and allow them to shower and wash their laundry in their homes.

“Right now, in this climate, the most important thing we can do in any situation is do everything we can to resist the normalization of things like hate speech and marginalizing people. If we intervene every day, that creates a society of resistance. Not saying anything and not holding on to these rights while we have them is steering us in a really bad direction.”

"Every plate of food we are giving out is highlighting why we need to give out a plate of food."

Dezeray hopes that the tides will eventually turn. “It’s really inspiring when I see someone intervening. It’s makes our society more sensitized to those things as being wrong. That’s the way we avoid people going into ovens again. What’s happening now is following a blueprint. I don’t want to see people die because they were trashed and dehumanized so much that people feel like they can commit crimes against them. As much as we can hold on to humanity – with our teeth, our nails, with everything we have, we have a chance at fighting this. The critical thing to know about our food shares – they are demonstrations. We are trying to keep this issue as visible as possible. Every plate of food we are giving out is highlighting why we need to give out a plate of food.” SM

organization was founded on is ‘solidarity, not charity.’

Anyone interested in volunteering can show up at a food share and help serve food, or simply hang out and strike up a conversation. They can also bring vegetarian or vegan foods that they’ve prepared, or they can pick up food and cook it at their home to serve at the food share or autonomously. Food and hygiene items can be dropped off at their donation box, or mailed to Seminole Heights Acupuncture Clinic at 6420 N Central Avenue care of the organization.

About the writer 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

Another way to support the organization is to contact vegan and vegetarian ethical food companies and restaurants on behalf of Food Not Bombs, Tampa and ask for food vouchers or leftover foods that would otherwise be discarded.

showcase for charity. She is loving the plant­based lifestyle and was excited to pass the one­year mark on July 3, 2018.

The organization can also be reached on their very active Facebook page, TampaFoodNotBombs.

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meditation for sadness and depression A guided meditation to lift your mood when you're feeling low. To practise the meditation, ask a friend to read it, or record yourself and play it back. Alternatively, find a link to an audio version at the end! Hello, and welcome. If you're feeling sad today, you've come to the right place. We're going to do a guided meditation to help us lift our spirits and be our best and most beautiful selves. To begin with, we're going to sit in a comfortable position, either on the floor or on the edge of a chair. And now we're going to pay careful attention to how we're sitting. When we're sad, we often slump, looking at the floor or at our laps. This can restrict our breathing and reinforce our feelings of sadness. So let's straighten our spines, in a way that feels natural but not forced. We don't want to create any tension in our bodies. Notice how you feel. Maybe you're a little more alert and clear­headed now that you're sitting upright. We're going to close our eyes, if they aren't already shut, and we're going to take some deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. We're going to breathe into the abdomen, so that we feel our stomachs rise as we inhale and fall as we exhale. And we're going to draw out our exhales longer than our inhales, to soothe any anxiety we may be feeling. And as we breathe, we feel any tension in our bodies releasing. [Pause] When we're very sad, it's easy to feel like we're all alone in the world. We may think no­one understands or is able to help us.

It can be hard to imagine how we will ever be happy again. But none of us are really alone ­ we're all connected. So think about somebody who loves you. Feel your connection to them, and feel the warmth of their love surrounding you like a cocoon. If you feel like there's no one who loves you, that's probably not true. But if that's what you really believe, you can think of a loved one you've lost, maybe a parent, and feel their love for you instead. And just know that there are so many people out there who would love you if they had the privilege to get to know you. So feel your connection to all those people, and be

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[Pause] How do you feel? Maybe you feel lighter again. You may even experience an unexpected surge of joy 足 but if not, then that's okay. Now we're going to gently to descend back down, floating softly into our homes and landing gently back in our seats. And slowly we're going to flutter our eyelids open and look around us. Maybe the room looks a little different 足 brighter, more vibrant. Feel that everything in the room is imbued with the love of the universe. completely enveloped by their love for you. And now maybe you feel a little lighter, even buoyant. This may sound a little silly, but we're going to use that buoyancy to imagine we're rising up from our seats. We float up and up, right through the roof if we're indoors! And then we're floating above our homes or wherever we're practicing, looking down on the surrounding area. We're going to feel the warmth of the sun on our skin as we drift. And now we're going to imagine our sadness as a dark cloud hanging over us, and as the sun hits it, it starts to disperse. Pure sunlight is shining into all the dark places inside us, making them bright. Now, maybe we float on our stomachs, looking down on the world. We see towns, hills, mountains, rivers, and marvel at how beautiful the world is. We feel light, free of our everyday stresses. Let's take a moment to do that. And now maybe we flip onto our backs, looking up at the vastness of the sky above. We watch the carefree birds soaring on the breeze, and think of the infinite universe that our planet drifts in. And as we do so, we realise that the possibilities for our lives are just as infinite. Though we may feel trapped in our current situation, it is an illusion. This too shall pass. So we think of the endless possibilities and potential that exist for us, and we feel that the universe is benevolent and loving. It has wonderful things in store for us. So now we're going to take a couple of minutes to just float, breathe, and meditate on those amazing possibilities.

Now let's take that love and buoyancy into the rest of the day. Try to get some real sunlight if possible 足 it's scientifically proven to help treat depression. And if you can, go hug someone you love. Hopefully you're feeling at least a little better 足 feel free to repeat this meditation whenever you're feeling down. Peace.

Click to listen!

Audio version

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Plant‐based food myths


Information is the one thing we aren't lacking these days. You can turn on the TV or open up your laptop and be inundated with information on all subjects ­ and, I must say, food and nutrition is always a hot topic. This is probably due to the never­ending struggle of people all over the world to lose weight and get healthier. This issue is close to my heart, as I was one of them for a very long time. Finally, I found balance in my diet after years of struggling, and became very happy with my habits and weight. That was when I realized the clear message my body was sending me: animal products are not good for us. I had to take a huge leap of faith in accepting this truth and shifting to a plant­based diet. I did it in the way I now recommend that my clients NOT do (cold turkey, overnight and without much foreknowledge or preparation). I therefore wrestled in my own mind, not to mention in my daily exchanges with friends and family, with all the food myths that disfavor plant­based eating. These challenges were essentially what motivated me to become a plant­based nutrition consultant as, once I did my homework, I realized the misconceptions were unfounded. Here are the 4 food myths that create the most confusion in the minds of many.

'Carbs make you fat' This one was definitely the first that crept into my mind and created havoc. I was SURE I was going to gain weight from all the carbs I would have to eat on a plant­based diet. In fact, I had made peace with the fact. So strong were the messages my body was sending me against meat consumption that I had accepted weight gain as a possible side effect of my shift. Needless to say, not only did I NOT put on weight, I actually lost weight more effortlessly than ever before in my life. The truth is, not all carbs are created equal. For sure, if you eat a lot of refined products such as white pasta, white bread and cakes (although those often have way more fat in them than carbs) you will hinder your weight loss efforts and run the risk of not getting enough essential nutrients. However, if you focus your efforts on eating plenty, and I mean PLENTY, of whole foods and wholegrains, you will simply be fuelling the body, especially your brain, with its primary source of energy (glucose) and eating a naturally low­ fat diet. I have never eaten so much (my portion sizes have more than doubled since going plant­based) and weighed so little in my entire life. No joke. If you want to read more on this subject, I highly recommend a book called “The Low Carb Fraud” by Dr McDougall. But the only way you will ever really be convinced that I’m not lying is by trying this out for yourself: that’s the only way my

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clients can finally shift their thinking. Once you realize you don't have to be hungry and deprived to be in great shape, nobody else will ever be able to change your mind. 'You can't get enough protein on a plant-based diet' Oh my. The protein question comes up time and time and time again. If I had a penny for every time someone has asked “where do you get your protein from?”, I would be retired and living on a desert island (so I don't have to hear the question ever again!). The truth is, plants have protein, and plenty of it. Or at least, plenty to fulfill our human needs. I can’t speak for lions and tigers. This huge misconception goes back hundreds of years and is too often used as a marketing ploy by the food and supplement industries (they’ve even gone as far as inventing protein­enhanced water!).

enough of the essential amino acids our body needs to build protein. The myth of “perfect protein” confuses the public: we are led to believe that animal protein is better because it is more similar in composition to our own body. But according to the World Health Organization (which has now officially classified processed and red meat as carcinogenic), animal protein is anything but perfect. Dr. Garth Davis expands on this huge misconception in his book “Proteinaholic”, which is one of the most interesting books you will ever read on nutrition (second only to “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell). So the moral of the story is don't worry about protein; simply focus on getting enough calories from a wide variety of nutrient­dense plant foods, and you will be just fine. Actually, you’ll be better than fine: you will thrive! 'We need milk for calcium'

Protein deficiency is virtually impossible if enough calories are consumed, and is even less likely when consuming plenty of nutrient­rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and starches. I have personally logged my food intake for weeks at a time with Cronometer (the best food log app out there) and have NEVER had a day when I haven’t consumed more than

Milk contains calcium. That’s an indisputable truth. However, there is compelling scientific evidence showing that consumption of dairy products is strongly associated with many diseases (constipation, skin problems, asthma, digestive problems and even cancer), making it far from an ideal source

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'We need fish for Omega 3 fatty acids'

of calcium. It is no surprise that millions of people out there struggle to digest milk and complain of milk­related allergies. We’re simply not meant to be consuming the milk from another mammal, especially not after weaning. Milk is also often contaminated with bacteria, hormones and antibiotics (routinely fed to cows to maximize production) ­ not to mention the horrible conditions milking cows have to sustain for the entirety of their lives. Calcium is abundant in many plant­based foods such as tofu, molasses, leafy greens and seeds: by getting it from plants, you avoid all the negative side effects of dairy consumption and will probably also lose a few pounds, or more, from the decrease in fat and hormone consumption. Dr. Campbell expands in depth on the negative effects of dairy consumption in “The China Study”, which delves into the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever compiled. This is a read I highly recommend to all my clients, as it clearly and scientifically expands on why we should all ditch the dairy once and for all. Don't believe me? Read the book. His credentials as a PHD and lab scientist with over 40 years of experience in nutrition studies are extremely substantial.

Guess where the fish at the bottom of the food chain get their omega 3 from? That’s right ­ plants! So why not cut out the “middle­man” and avoid exposure to all the unhealthy substances found in fish? Some of these include saturated fat, cholesterol, and heavy metals such as mercury. The misconception that fish is a “healthy” choice probably comes from the observation that populations who eat fish are generally healthier than those consuming a meat­rich diet. This may in fact be true, but it’s not the fish consumption that makes them healthier so much as the decreased consumption of meat! Sure your diet will improve if you go from eating cheese burgers and fries to eating steamed fish and vegetables. You will also improve your health if you go from smoking crack to smoking cigarettes, or from smoking a pack a day to smoking one; that, however, doesn't mean that smoking one cigarette a day is good for you. If you want to achieve optimal health and minimize any exposure to toxic substances, you really need to avoid all animal products and get your Omega 3 from much healthier and abundant plant­based sources such as flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and edamame. If you want to find out more about how to effectively and painlessly shift towards a more plant­based way of eating, visit our website, and contact us to schedule a free consultation. #maketheshift SM

About the writer Serena is a wellness coach, certified yoga teacher and plant-based nutrition consultant who has studied the subject of nutrition for over ten years and has a unique, wholistic approach to health and wellness. She works passionately to help leaders be strong and fit so they can be healthy and satisfied and can continue to have a positive impact within their organizations and the communities around them.

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Caveman by Laura Maria Grierson

Wait a minute You’re telling me You Typing on a smartphone made in China, capable of linking to the entirety of the human knowledge uploaded to the web and shared between billions of devices, While sitting on a sofa collected from Ikea/Argos/DFS In a car that covered thirty miles in thirty minutes, Bought from a job that has you at a desk in a room for eight hours, popping Paracetamol for a strained back, So you can buy a 4K TV, VR games, stuff for the kids (as many as you want, because you have contraception to limit them and doctors with training gleaned from thousands of years of trial and error and passing down), You, brown from a week in Tenerife, across the North Atlantic Ocean at 35,000 feet, Relaxed after purified water, chlorine­loaded pools, man­made beaches, Instagram filters, go­karting, streamed football matches, deck chairs, balconies, air con, waiters, boat rides, jet skis, You are telling me that when you go to Iceland you can’t pick up a vegan burger because cavemen ate meat?

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microadventures by Hannah Parry

Fitting little adventures into our day‐to‐day lives

Starting super small We’re all super busy, aren’t we? When we’re not commuting to our high­powered jobs, we’re caring for our children, trying to fit in a visit to the gym, or socialising with friends. We long for our summer holiday, that week or two where we can get away, forget about our troubles and completely unwind. It’s amazing how you can change your perspective just by visiting a new place. But just one week? How can we fit in a few more adventures without taking time away from our busy lives? This is where mircroadventures come in. According to Alistair Humphreys (who kind of invented the term), a microadventure is "small and achievable, for normal people with real lives". Alistair has written whole books about microadventures, which sometimes involve leaving the office at 5pm and heading straight for a mountain, running to the top armed with nothing but a bivvy bag and a head torch. But a microadventure doesn’t always have to be that extreme. My aim is to change my mindset ­ look at the world from a slightly different angle. That’s where my microadventures begin.

So you want to be more adventurous but you’ve never camped, all your friends are busy and you’ve got plans every weekend for the next 6 months. Start small. And I mean small. Get off the tube or bus a stop too early and look around as you walk to work. Look above the shop­fronts at the architecture; try to notice things that no­one else is noticing, or people­ watch as you go. I used to walk up the hill from Archway station to Highgate village, sometimes detouring through the park towards Highgate Cemetery. It was usually quicker than waiting for the bus, and the houses up there are beautiful.

Read a book How is that an adventure? I know I’m guilty of scrolling through social media way too much, dreaming of my next exotic travel destination or amazing vegan junk food. Swap your social media scrolling for a novel to transport your mind away from your routine and learn something new. Many old classics are free to download as ebooks, and secondhand

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bookshops will tempt you with preloved paperbacks for less than the price of a latte. If you want one to get you started, then how about Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain?

probably wake up to the sound of birdsong and a different perspective on the weather and your day.

Have a picnic I love picnics! Not only does packing your own food save you money, but it means you can take your lunch break anywhere. Recently, I was working near the coast. I took my box of leftover roasted vegetables and pasta to a beach, had a quick swim and ate my food with a cliff­top view ­ and all within my breaktime! Look on a map to find a green patch nearby, or any old bench will do. Urban people­watching is fun too.

Getting more ambitious Walking an extra 20 minutes from the bus stop is a nice start, but you’re ready for something more. Here are three ways to enrich your life without taking time away from your hobbies and friends.

Run or cycle your commute Get changed before you leave work and you can have a shower when you get home, or take the train halfway and run the rest if it’s a bit too far. You’ll feel so pleased with yourself when you arrive home at a similar time to normal but you’ve already worked out. For example, Marble Arch to Hammersmith is about 30 minutes by public transport and about a 30 minute run (it’s about 6km). I’m a London cyclist, and I love using the Cycle Super Highway through Hyde Park. It took me a while to build up to longer journeys, and I recommend trying new routes when you have plenty of time to avoid getting lost when you’re in a hurry. Don’t want to invest in your own bike? Cycle hire schemes are now available in many of the UK’s cities on a pay­as­you­ ride basis so you can get a feel for city riding without investing. (Although good quality second­hand bikes are cheap enough on Gumtree).

Meet your friends for a walk instead of a coffee or lunch Most cities have riverside walks or circular tourist routes. In 1 hour, you can cover about 3 miles, so in a lunch break you could manage one of these walks in Norwich city centre and learn things too. I adore following walking directions and informing my friends of where we are, what we can see and where we’re going next. On my recent Peak District trip, my friends and I had just enough time for a 3 miler in and around Buxton to Solomon's Temple before heading back down south.

Sleep in the garden

Ready for more

I recently celebrated Midsummer by sleeping in a bivvy bag in the garden. I wasn’t able to get away at all, but still wanted an adventure. Borrow your friend’s tent or hammock, and know that you can go inside if you really don’t like it. You’ll

We’re at Alistair’s level now. We’re ready to put a little more time and effort into our adventures. But we still don’t want to spend a ton of money, and our friends are still reluctant to join in. Well, I think I’ve got the answer.

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Make new friends! Ok, sounds harsh. I don’t really mean for you to ditch your non­outdoorsy, busy friends. What I mean is that you could form friendships with like­minded people by joining a club. I’m a member of a kayaking and canoe club, and benefit from the expertise and company of my fellow members (not to mention the kit, trips, and amazingly patient coaches). There are rambling clubs, walking groups, running meet­ups, climbing clubs and team sports ­ the list goes on.

Go camping locally I love sleeping in a tent and cooking on a little gas stove; there's something about simplifying life that makes me feel fresher. And you don’t need to travel miles to justify your camping trip. How about this lovely spot just 35 minutes from the centre of Manchester? One of my kayaking club trips was down the river to a wild camping site which would have taken about half an hour to drive to, but it felt like a world away.

Do a long distance path, but just a little each week Google ‘long distance paths in the UK’ and there are loads. But you’d need a couple of weeks off work and some serious energy to complete most of them. So what about doing a little each week? There are the 24 sections of the London LOOP , or Cardiff’s Capital Walk is 37 miles long so could be done in around 4 sections. Once you start, you’ll probably find people will want to join you for some sections, and you’ll still have half a weekend left if you do a day of walking every week.

Seasoned pros Picture the scene: the bright autumn sun is streaming through your office windows as you drag your eyes back to the boring computer screen. You want to get away and you have a clear weekend, but you want to go somewhere new and exciting and as far away as possible. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Night Bus.

accommodation. The overnight coach from London to Edinburgh arrives at 6am, from where you can catch a bus or train to see the stunning Scottish countryside. Or what about a weekend in Paris? You’ll arrive at 7am. Getting the overnight bus back on Sunday night means you might be a little tired on Monday morning but you can grab a shower at Victoria Station (I have never done this but it’s possible in theory) and zoom right back to your desk.

Car club It’s a lot easier to get away if you can drive. As a city dweller, you may not own your own four wheels, but car clubs are a convenient and flexible way to zoom off into the horizon. Two hours' drive from London can get you to the Cotswolds, South Downs, Chiltern Hills or the Sussex coast.

Camper van hire This is right at the top of my to­do list. I’ve always wanted a camper van, preferably one of those hippy vintage VWs. What ultimate freedom. Drive where you want, for as long as you want, stopping whenever takes your fancy. How about planning a vaguely circular route from home so you don’t cover the same route twice? I recommend a friend or two and an extra couple of days to maximise this adventure into the unknown. What are you waiting for? Download a book, pack a travel pillow and send me a selfie after cycling to the Eiffel Tower. I can’t wait to hear about your next microadventure. 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. Find out more at

Sleeping as you travel means you’ll get two whole days for adventuring and you only have to pay for one night’s

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Can Money Buy Happiness? by Elize Lake

“You can't buy your way to happiness.” Now just how long has this debate been going on? Let me tell you: F.O.R.E.V.E.R. People with money tell you it isn’t the way to happiness. People without money respond, ‘Well they can say that, they’re rich!’ I am here to address the latter ­ the “if I only had that sort of cash” type of folk. Let me just highlight my credibility on this topic. I feel able to comment on this debate as I have previously been materialistically driven, and it is still something I work on daily. Looking around, all we see is STUFF. Stuff people have bought, stuff people want, stuff people say they’re going to get. Why are we letting stuff dictate our lives? People in the sales industry use tactics to connect with you on an emotional level, to get you connected to the items they’re selling and increase their sales figures. You don’t buy stuff because you want the stuff; you buy it because you’re searching for that emotional response. Ever felt giddy, excited almost, before you buy something?

Like you simply HAVE to have it because you love it so much? Don’t feel ashamed ­ we’ve all been there. You have to have it, you buy it, and you’re happy, even delighted. Then what happens? Tomorrow comes, the next day, the day after that. Tell me; are you still just as happy? Probably not.

"You don’t buy stuff because you want the stuff; you buy it because you’re searching for that emotional response." You hit that miniature high when you buy something, it subsides, and suddenly you’re back to a base setting that you don’t want to think about. So what do you do? Buy more stuff. >

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This is sadly not dissimilar to people who struggle with drug addictions. The concepts run parallel; it's about always seeking an emotional response from an external factor. Sadly, seeking temporary happiness in things you can buy has become an accepted norm. I personally think this is wrong.

"I personally think happiness is tied closely to how we view ourselves, what we think we contribute to this world, who we are as people." Retail therapy is not a lie, but sadly it is not a lasting means of happiness. You have to dig past that desire for substandard fulfilment in exterior things, and look deeper into yourself. Sometimes it’s hard, in a world that seems so structured and full, to really dedicate time to yourself, to manifesting happiness from within. My personal opinion is that each individual is responsible for their own happiness. We have to create the right conditions on a spiritual level. In an ever­ expanding world, this is no small feat. As technology advances, so does our access to the obvious divide in wealth. All you have to do is go onto Instagram, and given the right search criteria, you’ll be looking at a whole load of money. This is enough to make anyone feel sad or dissatisfied with what they’ve got (in a materialistic sense) if it isn’t “as much”. This is where our dependence on 'bought happiness' comes from. The aftermath of a few Instagram searches can leave you feeling deflated, inferior and poor, so what do you do? You think (likely on a subconscious level) “Well, what do they do?" And the answer is… they buy stuff. Granted, they may have a bigger budget, but rest assured, they are still trapped in the ‘buying for happiness’ mindset.

This links back to the beginning of the article ­ the age­old question of just how much money impacts our genuine happiness levels. I think excessive wealth leads to inauthentic happiness, ultimately creating the vicious delusion of dependence on materialistic items to make us happy. But now for the good news! C’mon, you were waiting for some good news, weren’t you? You are completely in control of how you are personally affected by this system. You do not have to be a part of it if you consciously choose not to be. You can make the decision to disassociate from it, and create your own version of what you think should be the norm for you. Everyone has always done what everyone else does. Only a rare few step out of the metaphorical box and challenge the norms. You can be that game­changer. Everyone has that power. By not investing your money in small, infrequent bouts of excitement and illegitimate happiness, you can make a statement. Save your money, don’t give in to the temptation of materialism, find your passion, make sure it’s a good cause, and then invest money in that. This will lead you towards a happiness that is not fleeting. Find your purpose within this world, something you can 100% commit to, something you live and breathe for. Something that it feels like you cannot live without doing, a cause, a purpose. Find that fire and passion within yourself, and this alone will lead you to a lifetime of feeling accomplished. I personally think happiness is tied closely to how we view ourselves, what we think we contribute to this world, who we are as people. This is where true happiness lies. Sadly, in a world clouded by aesthetics, image and materialism, more and more people are basing their self­worth on things not truly reflective of their character. What matters most is how kind you are, your ethics, your morals, what you stand up for, what you believe in – these make you who you are. They’re your entire soul. Do not allow people who are burdened by controlling factors to dictate your self­worth. You don’t have to be like the rest of the population; that’s what everyone does. Be the voice of change. People who have challenged the status quo have often been regarded as crazy, ludicrous, sometimes foolish, but my opinion is that only a fool unquestioningly accepts the things they have seen or been told. You must consciously connect to the world. Don't live in a subconscious daydream, accepting

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"That is the route to happiness; finding yourself."

he day­to­day. If you are unhappy, change it. Change your circumstances, change your mind, change. That is the route to happiness; finding yourself. Start listening in to those daydreams you have when your mind wanders. Question why you’re thinking the thoughts you are, even question whether you sincerely agree with your subconscious. We are so heavily influenced in this social media era that sometimes we don't even consciously agree with our subconscious thoughts.

Start taking the time to watch yourself with a bird’s eye view, and to live presently in your mind, body and soul. Relearn who you are, and establish new thoughts if necessary. Finding who you truly are and your unique brilliance and ideas, the quirks that are truly you and not a product of your environment, will bring you joy. People who are enjoying that very same journey will understand you too. Being misunderstood by the masses is a GOOD thing ­ it means you’re truly living for you, and what more could you really want?

About the writer

Elize says, "I’ve written this article to address one of the biggest debates of modern­day life – does money equal happiness? This article is my thoughts on the subject, my explanation of the “bought happiness” theory, and a snippet of inspiration for everyone wanting to escape this system (which is SO very possible). I hope this article inspires self­reflection and gives its readers the knowledge, belief and confidence needed to begin manifesting their own long­lasting happiness."

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Vert ical Garden Journey The First Step on Your

by Kylie Johnson

There is no doubt that vertical gardens capture attention more than traditional garden designs, as well as allowing you to grow your own food to feed yourself. Whether the vertical garden is a hanging floral garden or a space­saving vegetable garden, the design is an artistic style statement.

What You Need t o St art a Vert ical Garden

Size is usually dependent on the location and space available. This is true even for vertical hanging gardens. External walls provide excellent support for growing plants. Make certain the types of plants you choose match the specifications of the location. For example, if the vertical garden is to be part of a landscape as a featured design, measure the length and width of plant growth potential, amount of sunlight plants will need and also plant colors and shapes. Also, choose the best method for keeping plants fed and watered. If vine­type plants like English Ivy, Wisteria or Pyracantha are planted, these plants' growth will need to be adequately controlled or they may overtake the intended location.

Creat ive Designs for Vert ical Gardens

The biggest decision when starting a vertical garden is the design. Once you choose the design, size is the next important issue to resolve.

The easiest types of vertical gardens to start are those that require the least maintenance. Flowers like clematis, bittersweet or variegated ivy are for gardeners who just want to plant vertically and let the plants do the rest of the work. Note that vertical gardens can be planted either to make a

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visually pleasing landscape or to be functional vegetable gardens.

Gett ing t he Most from Vert ical Garden Designs

Don't be afraid to scour garage sales and garden shops for trellises and other support structures to enhance the vertical design. Other supports like chains, chicken wire and plastic, wooden or metal frames are also ideal for starting a vertical garden. Try to assimilate the support structure with the type of plants and their growth patterns. Recycle plastic packing bags, especially "bubble wrap," that can be used as a backing for a wall frame. Use two rectangular lengths of bubble wrap to fit into a plastic, wooden or metal frame. Secure into the frame with nails or tacks, fill with potting soil and add plants. The bubble wrap will keep moisture in plants and encourage root growth more quickly. Framed vertical gardens create the image of a wall mural with live plants.

of planter boxes filled with potting soil and flowers, herbs or other greenery. Then, hang these from beneath the fascia board under the eaves of the house or fence. Another way to hang these is to rescue the steel frame of a porch swing. The frame makes an excellent support that is as useful as it is attractive and will hang up to a dozen planter boxes, depending on the size of the boxes and length of the chains. Try varying the chain lengths for a more eye­catching garden feature.

Creat ive Designs t o Consider One of the most functional types of vegetable gardens is started vertically in containers. For this design, choose a sunny location, and a sturdy base for a vertical hanging vegetable garden. The types of vegetables that can be grown in this way include: ­ Cucumbers ­ Tomatoes ­ Peppers ­ Beans ­ Squash ­ Eggplant

Attach lengths of chains to "S" hooks, and attach several tiers

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Fruits like strawberries, blueberries and grapes can also be grown in vertical gardens. The benefits of growing vegetables and fruits in vertical gardens include less time spent weeding and also more control over garden insects.

High St yle Vert ical Garden Designs Fresh herbs grown in a vertical garden are always convenient. Give flowers, vegetables, herbs and greenery a sculptured look. Although vertical gardens save space, they can also become sculptured garden centerpieces. Purchase a large tomato cage about 4 ft. long and 6 inches in diameter. Place a cage in the desired location and fill with damp potting soil. Begin to plant flowers, herbs, vegetables or species of evergreens like Purple Wintercreeper or Rug Juniper, starting from the top of the cage and planting downward. Once growth has begun, the case will no longer be visible and will look like a free­standing column of plants.

Creat ive Cont ainers for Growing Vert ically The containers used to grow plants in a vertical garden are as diverse as the gardener chooses. For vegetables, select clean, residue­free plastic or metal containers or buckets. It's easy to grow plants vertically by simply pulling the plant's roots through a hole in the bottom of a container filled with dampened potting soil and placing small holes on the lip end of the container for aeration. Attach a sturdy chain and a hook to hang.

Conclusion - More Vert ical Garden Ideas Vary the types of plants by planting Pachysandra at the bottom of the cage, adding Irish Moss to the center and putting frothy Maidenhair Fern at the top. The end result will look like a fountain of greenery. For a more flowery effect, start at the bottom of the cage with periwinkle, add pinks to the center and finish with delicate baby's breath for an ethereal floral garden centerpiece. It will look like a beautiful garden bouquet. SM This article was originally published here.

About the writer

Kylie is the editor at Green & Growing. She enjoys the outdoors, especially when she can go on a fun hike or adventure, and likes to focus on the perks of green living. She feels it is so important to take care of our Earth, and hopes to spread more awareness through editing and writing.

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Taking Inspiration From Our

Childhood Selves Whilst at my parents' for Christmas, I decided to have a clear­ out of the stuff lying around my old room. Going through it was an eye­opening experience ­ I realised how creative and imaginative I was as a kid, and how I seem to have lost those traits. At a very young age, I'd make anything I could out of paper and sticky tape. I once made a little garden with flowers, a 3D well and a duck pond. I made a candle in a holder out of cardboard and tissue paper, and a mobile with colourful paper fish hanging on it. When I was a little older, I created fantasy worlds and drew maps of them. I made up characters who lived there, and wrote stories about them. I drew and painted my characters, and in one case even made up a language for them (complete

with dictionary!). I made up games, designing boards, cards and boxes for them. Over the years, I sewed numerous little outfits for soft toys; I knitted too, though I was very bad at it and usually gave up halfway through a project! I loved to cut out little cardboard figures and make them mix­and­match cardboard clothes. My brother and I once made a model house out of a cardboard box. We made furniture out of card too, and curtains and duvet covers out of old clothes. There were tiny saucepans, photo frames and cushions. The bathroom had a tin foil mirror. The upstairs was in a tray which could be removed to allow access to the downstairs. When our grandpa saw it, he was amazed by the detail.

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My brother had an enormous collection of toy ducks, and we pretended we were a massive family. We'd take the ducks on days out, play houses and give them all baths in the garden. I also remember playing numerous imaginary games with friends ­ we made schools for soft toys, played at being witches, and pretended we were camping. When it snowed, my best friend's orchard became Narnia. I sometimes made up little melodies on the piano, and in my early to mid teens I wrote songs with my guitar. At that age, I was leaving behind the imaginary games, but the stories I wrote were becoming longer and more elaborate. I decided I wanted to be an author, and wrote several novellas. I continued to draw and paint too. At some point, I stopped doing most of those things. It's hard to pin down why, but there are numerous possible factors.

For one thing, it's no longer socially acceptable to play with soft toys and play imaginary games once you reach a certain age. You begin to feel silly and childish, because it's just not done. For another, school was beginning to get serious around that time; there was a lot more homework, and a lot less time for creativity. A friend of mine once pointed out that children learn through play, and by the time we grow up, we don't really need to do that any more. Maybe it's natural to play less as time goes on, but I do have to wonder how much of it comes down to social pressure. My brother thinks the driving factor was the Internet. We lived in a very rural area with poor Internet access, and had dial­up until I was in my early teens. As a consequence, we rarely bothered with the Internet until then, as it was so slow and many things wouldn't load at all. When we first got it, we had limited downloads and so had to be careful how much we used. I was eighteen when we finally got unlimited downloads. I could watch as many videos as I liked! Maybe that was when things began to go downhill. University was the final nail in the coffin. It disrupted my routine, and I completely stopped playing guitar. I had less time than ever, and had to abandon my novel­writing in term­ times. The university art society wasn't very good, and I stopped making time for drawing and painting. Since I was studying Computer Science, I spent virtually all day on the computer. That made it far too easy to get distracted by the likes of Facebook and YouTube. Though I now do my best to limit my social media use, I still find endless ways to get distracted online and spend way too much time on the computer ­ researching blog posts, watching documentaries and so on. It's like I don't know what else to do with myself. It's only by looking back that I realise what a shame this is. As a kid, there were endless possibilities ­ I could create anything I liked. Now I feel as though I've lost that. I know it's still in there somewhere, but I'm not sure how to get at it. I'd like to change that ­ it would be fun to design more imaginary worlds. I still have that longing to create things, and I think I'd feel a whole lot better for expressing it. Maybe it's time to pick up a guitar or a paintbrush again. SM

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