Author: conscioushumansblog

Buying consciously: Zuperzozial eco-friendly tableware

For me, living a more conscious and sustainable life it’s a process, there are so many different aspects that I feel I can’t change everything at once or be aware of everything at the same time, I would go crazy. Sometimes I do, when I realize more and more the consequences of our daily actions and consumptions.

Take a moment and think from the time you wake up till you go to bed, all the products you use and buy during the day: Where do they come from?, Who made them?, Where they paid a fair salary for their work?, How long did it take to make them?, Which materials were used?, How much energy, water and other resources it took to make and transport them? Where are they going after you use them? Asking ourselves questions like this is going to make us more aware of the impact we are having in our environment and hopefully help us to buy more consciously. I’m getting to know more and more brands that asks themselves these questions and in this post I want to talk about one of them. Zuperzozial is a Dutch brand that makes beautiful eco-friendly tableware.

 

Zlogo

Since the first time I saw their products I loved not only the look of them but also the fact that they focus on making their products with the eco-friendly materials like bamboo. Zuperzozial was born in March 2011 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. They saw the need for a more eco-friendly materials and discovered bamboo is perfect to make tableware. Their products contain as much plant-fiber as possible, they are made of around 75% fiber which is produced on a durable way. Zuperzozial’s goal is to make eco-tableware affordable for everybody. Their factory is in China where the material also comes from. When it comes to design they use the expression of the material  to explain the characteristics of it, while making it modern by using hip colors.

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Making eco-friendly products doesn’t come easy, it takes a lot of energy and time, and there are always obstacles to overcome. Zuperzozial still faces a few challenges like the environmental impact of transport. Also, they had to compromise in the balance between the plant-fiber and the resin. They experimented with natural resin to make the product 100% plant-based, but found serious troubles with the durability. It was falling apart during production. Now Zuperzozial has to add a ordinary resin to make the products durable. The main advantage is that the products are dishwasher-safe because of that. Zuperzozial  noticed that customers like eco but in the end what matters most is that products should be up-to-date regarding modern use.

 

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Zuperzozial believes that eco friendly tableware will be the standard in the future, and therefore they have experimented with other plant-based materials and plant-based components to have a smaller footprint on agri-components.

Visit their webpage to see their beautiful designs and find out where you can buy them!

http://zuperzozial.com/

I want to thank Remco van der Leij for his help and support on making this post possible.

5 places to eat vegan in New York City

I was lucky to be in New York for 7 days a couple of weeks ago and I made it my mission to stick to eating healthy while in the big apple. What’s great about a big city is that there are more options available so it’s actually easier to stick to eating plant-based. I did some research beforehand and found some awesome places that I visited and want to share with you.

 

by CHLOE – 60 West 22nd Street, 185 Bleecker Street – $-$$

About to have their 7th location opened (for all their locations check their website below), by CHLOE is a great success, with a delicious and varied menu and a great hip interior decor to match it. I loved that you have the option to eat while seating on a swing, what a fun idea!. I admit the interior looks like only girls would go eat there (my boyfriend was not so much into it) but I saw all kinds of people enjoying a healthy meal there which made me very happy.

I had an great tasting smoothie bowl and cold coffee at their location at the Flat Iron. I liked it so much that I decided to take my boyfriend and see their location in West VIllage. He wanted pancakes and by CHLOE has some plant-based pancakes on the menu. But, unfortunately ( like many places in NYC, we found out later) they only make pancakes on Sundays, so a bit of a disappointment there. Nonetheless, I definitely recommend it and will go there next time I’m in the city because they have a wide variety of options on the menu and their flavour will rock your tastebuds.

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Website: http://eatbychloe.com/

 

Le Botaniste – 833 Lexington Avenue – $$

I think I went to this place almost every day. Their food is super fresh and plant based and 99% organic. They have one of my favourite dishes since I started eating plan-based: coconut curry. They have a few bowl style dishes you can pick from or you can make your own if you wish.

When we were ordering we noticed that the interior looks like a chemistry lab (because they believe food should be the medicine, wink) and there are empty bottles with the names of the elements in Dutch. We thought it strange so we asked about it and it turns out that the first La Botaniste was opened in Gent, Belgium where they also speak Dutch.. Kind of funny since I live like an hour away but went all the way to New York to discover them. At the moment they have one location in Lexington Avenue but they told us they are planning to open more locations in the near future!

Le Botanisteframe

Website:http://www.lebotaniste.us/

 

El Rey – 100 Stanton St – $-$$

This one is a really tiny restaurant/cafe located on the Lower East Side, we went in once during a rainy day and were not disappointed to walk into some salsa music playing. There are only a couple of tables so you probably will have to share yours. There were not many vegan options, but I really didn’t need more. I went for their Avocado “del sur” a pita bread covered with avocado drench in onion and lime. I am addicted to lime so for me this was heaven on a plate, if there were not people there I would’ve licked the plate.

ElRey frame

For more info you can check their website: http://www.elreynyc.com/

 

Inday – 1133 Broadway – $

Bowl style indian food with plant-based options. We went here for lunch and it was so busy, but you can pre-order and they will have your meal ready. I went to meet an old friend that I hadn’t seen in ages, so with all the excitement I forgot to make pictures of our food! But trust me it was good. I like the variety of foods, they offer a lot of different options you can add to your bowl. The portions are a really good size, you’ll end up filling up your belly and feeling satisfied.

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Website:http://indaynyc.com/

 

DIMES – 49 Canal St – $-$$

When I was searching for this restaurant I missed it a couple of times because it is in the chinese neighbourhood and it doesn’t have a big logo or sign outside to easily distinguish it. It has a laid-back-retro vibe to it, and you won’t be disappointed if you need to go to the toilet. Funny thing but, I loved that when you go to the toilet they play you the audio of a nature documentary. I’m pretty sure is Sir David Attenborough, so you leave feeling lighter and wiser than when you walked in.

That took a weird turn so let me tell you about the menu, I was there on tuesday and they had a pretty small menu, I had a broccoli toast. Sounds pretty simple but the seasoning was spectacular, it was really tasty.  During the weekend we stopped by for coffee and noticed that their menu was suddenly bigger you can check it out below.

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Website:http://dimesnyc.com/

 

I gotta say that I was really excited to be able to go and try so many different restaurants that offer healthy options with affordable prices . If you have visited this places or have more suggestions on places to eat vegan in NYC leave a comment below! Will try to visit them the next time.

 

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Source: combination of several recipes

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 3-4 people

Categories: lunch, dinner, first course, main course

This is my favorite soup and favourite dish at the moment. Easy to make, cheap, nutritious, and delicious! Compared to other soups this one is done rather fast, because red lentils unlike other legumes don’t have to be soaked for hours but can be rinsed and used right away.

I first had this soup at a soup restaurant and since then I was hooked, I had to learn how to make it at home and it took me several tries and recipes to get the delicious taste I fell in love with. I think I finally got the right taste, I discovered the secret ingredient is tomato paste and with tomato paste the soup is called Turkish red lentil soup.

Ingredients

  1. 1 1/3 cup (about 8 ounces) red lentils, picked through and rinsed
  2. 7 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  3. 1 large onion, diced
  4. 1 large carrot, diced
  5. 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  6. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  7. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  8. 1/8 teaspoon paprika powder
  9. ½ teaspoon thyme or oregano
  10. 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste

 

Lentilsoupingredients

Ingredients for serving

  1. Lemon or lime wedges
  2. Chopped fresh mint  
  3. 1 avocado diced (optional)

 

Lentilsoupserving

Ingredients for side dishes

  1. Whole grain bread toasts for serving
  2. Lettuce, tomato and cucumber for a small side salad

 

Lentilsoupsides

Directions

  1. Wash the lentils, I usually put them in a sifter and rinse them 2 or 3 times and then set them aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, in a little water or vegetable broth sauté the onion with a pinch of salt for 3 minutes. Add the carrots and sauté for another 3 minutes. Keep adding water or vegetable broth as needed.
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir it for around 1 minute. Now add the cumin, paprika, thyme, and sauté for 10 seconds to bloom the spices. Immediately add the lentils, water, broth, and salt. Bring the soup to a boil.
  4. After it has come to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover the pot halfway, and let it cook for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils have fallen apart and the carrots are completely cooked.
  5. After the soup has cooked and the lentils are tender, blend the soup either in a blender or simply use a hand blender to reach the consistency you desire. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
  6. Serve the soup with lemon or lime wedges, fresh mint and my own twist: ¼ of diced avocado. Chop the lettuce, tomato and cucumber and serve as a side salad.
  7. Enjoy!

 

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Reduce your plastic waste with Funky Bottles

I want to make it easier for us to make better decisions. I am on the lookout for brands that are making a positive impact on our lifestyles, our planet and all living creatures in it. In this post I am going to tell you about one brand who’s doing exactly that. I am very excited about their products, not just because they look really good but also because they tackle one of the biggest issues we face today: single-use plastic bottles. FunkyBottles makes reusable glass water bottles and thermos bottles paying special attention to the design, they even give the option to personalize your own bottle.

FBLogo2

When the creators of FunkyBottles started learning about the different environmental threats we are currently facing, they asked themselves what they could do to help. Soon they realized that what was important was to take action and do something, no matter how small. They saw the opportunity to tackle the single-use of plastic bottles as the most feasible option. Therefore, in October 2016, Tudor and Alexandra created FunkyBottles in Amsterdam. Their backgrounds combine Business Innovation with Industrial Design.  Their mission? To reduce plastic consumption and help people in expressing themselves through a “different” form of art. They believe that the value of their products relies on the way they are created. We live in the era of personalization and uniqueness, and perceived as a method of self-expression.

Portrait2

Starting a business is never easy, at the beginning FuckyBottles had to take the time to know their target audience and what they wanted. After gathering product feedback they decided that the best was to create designs that match different personalities and environments. Also, to create designs that are able to express unique feelings, making it challenging but most of all fun.

If we want to make a change we need to change our daily habits. We are used to go for the fast and easy solution, if we are thirsty on the go we just buy a plastic bottle drink it and throw it away. This is exactly the problem, not only are we spending a lot of money by doing this but we are creating so much waste. One plastic bottle can take up to 1000 years to decompose, the average time is around 450 years. That’s about 5 human lifetimes! Plus, most plastic bottles are not recycled. A lot of plastic bottles end up in the ocean, where they can degrade in a year. After that year all the toxic materials used to make the water bottles end up washed up at shorelines or inside sea creatures and consequently inside the humans that eat them. But I will leave our plastic crisis for another post.

Even if you decide to buy a reusable water bottle it might take a while before you get used to bringing it everywhere you go. I have been there. To make this process easier FunkyBottles want us to fall in love with our bottle so that we want to be with it all the time and won’t want to leave it behind. How you ask? By offering a large range of designs collaborating with different artists so that everybody can find a design that really represents them.

They have designed eight different collections of water bottles, offering 28 unique designs. And when I say unique I mean it in! it is hard to choose just one because they are all so cool. They also offer their beautiful thermos bottle in 3 different colors blue, red and, purple. I want to show you my favourite designs, Elephant from the Wild collection and 4 from the Merged collection:

WaterBottlesElehantFrame

DesignMergedFrame

Gorgeous! Don’t you think? To see all of their designs and buy your favourite one go to the FunkyBottles webshop. It is important for us as consumers to choose our future, and we can do this by wisely deciding where we spend our money.  We need to support those businesses like FunkyBottles, who are trying to make a positive impact, by buying their products, thus giving them the power to actually make the change we want to see in the world. So help me help them help us, like, share and buy!

Webshop: https://funkybottles.com/shop/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/funkybottlesofficial/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/funkybottlesofficial/

I will like to thank FunkyBottles, specially Tudor for facilitating the information and products for this post. I hope that this post contributes even in the smallest way to increase your brand awareness and the future success of FunkyBottles.

 

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Chunky Monkey Smoothie

Source: Forks Over Knives The Cookbook

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Serves: 1 people

Categories: breakfast, smoothie, dessert

This is a quick, filling, and tasty breakfast that’s ready in less than 5 minutes. If you prefer, use any  other nut butter in place of the peanut butter and substitute carob powder if you prefer it to cocoa. You can also use other milk like soy or oat milk instead of almond milk. If you don’t have bananas in your freezer, use fresh instead and add a few ice cubes to the blender. I personally like to add strawberries and mint for an extra kick of flavour.

This is one of my favourite recipes to go to when I’m craving chocolate and best part is that I feel guilty free after drinking it. I have made this recipe a couple of times, and usually I have it as dessert. The first time I did it was way too heavy because the consistency was too thick, therefore I recommend to stick to a light consistency.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, plus more as needed or water
  • 2 medium frozen bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 pitted and chopped Medjool dates, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 slided strawberries (optional)
  • 4 leaves of mint (optional)

Post2Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients (except for strawberries and mint) in blender and process until smooth and creamy. Add more almond milk as needed to achieve a smooth consistency.
  2. Pour smoothie into a cup and add the strawberries and mint on top and TA DA! you are ready to drink all the deliciousness.

Post2finalprodct

Why do unhealthy foods taste so good?

What we eat affects not only our health but also the environment. The western pattern diet is full of crap, literally. Most of the things we can buy in a supermarket are processed foods high in fat, salt, and sugar mixed with ingredients we don’t even understand.  

I want to start the subject of food by tackling the main excuse we have to eat animal proteins and high caloric dense foods, the pleasure we get out of eating them. Most of us know that these foods are not good for us, so if we know they are bad why do we keep on coming back for more?

Why do we love to eat high-fat and high-sugar food?

Let’s first understand a bit of how our stomach works. We have receptors in our stomach that help us know how much food we have eaten.

  • Stretch receptors: measure the volume of food
  • Density receptors: measure the caloric density of the food

Take 500 calories of plant based foods, it can fill our stomach and trigger both stretch and density receptors giving the signal to our brain that we are satisfied. But 500 calories of oil which is only fat will barely fill our stomach, triggering almost no receptors telling our brain we need to eat a lot more. We live in a time that we can and we do make food completely artificial, so people have to overeat in order to feel satisfied.Caloric denistyA lot of us feel like we can’t live without steaks, burgers, fries, chips, bacon, cheese, chocolate, ice-cream, etc. But do you know why it tastes so delicious and we get so much pleasure out of eating it? According to PhD. Douglas Lisle It is because we are stuck in the Pleasure Trap.

To understand the Pleasure Trap we need to understand a bit more how our psychology works. Nature has designed a trio of biological mechanisms in every single animal creature, including us humans. These mechanisms make sure that we live long enough to pass our genes into the next generation, in other words we “eat to survive and survive to reproduce”.

triad

These three legs are called “The Motivational Triad” and it is a good summary of animal behaviour. This Triad is like our compass, that helps us navigate on this planet. But how do we know if we are on the right track? There is a second guidance system that we know as happiness. This systems gives us feedback through feelings, feelings are the signals that tell us to do what feels good and stay away from what doesn’t. Happiness is a short term mood state activated in the mood regulating centers of the brain, mainly through the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, so we feel happy as we get closer to pleasure and away from pain. We are trying to make ourselves happy with pleasure, when it’s the journey that makes us happy, and no amount of pleasure will makes us happy. But this is no guide on how to be happy, so let’s get back to food.

Looking at the Motivational Triad, we can understand that richer food naturally excite our senses through the hormone Dopamine. It is nature’s way of telling us they will provide the highest amount of dietary reward with the least amount of effort. This helped our ancestors to find the most calorie dense and ripe food available which contributed to our survival. But in today’s environment we can artificially increase caloric density well beyond what our ancestor would’ve found in nature. This resulting foods give us a hypernormal amount of pleasure leading us into the Pleasure Trap.

What is the Pleasure Trap?

The Pleasure Trap is an interaction between our natural instincts which are trying to tell us the right thing to do and some kind of artificial modern stimulation which is highjacking that process. A classic example of this is drugs, drugs take over our existing pleasure circuits and when certain chemicals hit those areas they cause feelings of euphoria and excitement, the same drug-like effect happens when we eat high dense caloric foods.

The western pattern diet, and the information fed to us by marketing efforts from the multinationals producing this food have us in an cycle of addiction that is not easy to break. Even if we are lucky enough to get the right information, it is really hard to break it. This is because when we eat these artificial foods we experience higher pleasure than if we would just eat what we can find in nature. A lot of people say “ I rather die than eat that way. Even if it costs me some years of my life, taking pills and some surgeries.” But the truth is that the pleasure we get does not get higher and higher, we get used to the high amounts of fat and sugar and pleasure stays at the same level, this is called neuroadaptation. Is the same that happens when you wake up at night to go to the bathroom and turn a light on, it seems like it is extremely bright but after a couple of minutes you get used to it. If you suddenly start eating healthy food, it feels like you are doing the wrong thing even if it’s the right thing, your senses are dull because they are used to overstimulation. And this is exactly why is is so hard to escape, because you are craving this food, because when you eat it your Motivational Triad is telling you that you are doing the right thing, but our compass is not working properly on our modern environment. It is time to reboot our systems, but how can we do this?pleasure trapownHow to escape The Pleasure Trap

Doctor Lisle, has a few tricks that might help. The first one is to know that what you are going through is time limited, it will get easier after 2-3 weeks, but to be all the way out will take 6-10 weeks and just a few people succeed in doing this 100%. The second one is to reboot the system by only drinking water for 24 hours, total sensory deprivation is the most efficient way to do this. Another option is to do a juice fast for 2-3 days, giving fat and sugar receptors a break to recover sensitivity. Afterwards blend foods will not be tasting so blend anymore, and oatmeal in the morning will sound pretty tasty. The other trick is to get more information, get informed, get support if needed. Most of the people who start this journey relapse, and that is ok, every time is easier to escape and you can always get back in track.

I have made a slow transition when it comes to my diet. I started by eating vegetarian food, then vegan and now when I cook I only cook plant-based without oil and without sugar. I still get cheese cravings and chocolate cravings but the less I eat it the less I crave it. Sometimes it is hard to keep eating this way when being out and about with friends, but I always try to make a conscious choice. It is not easy and that is why the more we talk about it and the more we do it the easier it will get.

The processed food industry, meat industry and medical industry have made a very profitable business out of keeping us sick and addicted.  It’s a cliche, but there is no money to be made out of healthy people. There are so many illnesses caused and made worse by these foods such as, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, migraines, IBS, arthritis, and different inflammation manifestations. Eating this foods is not only killing ourselves but also the planet and the creatures we share it with, a subject that I will be discussing later on.

Now, don’t get me wrong avoiding processed foods and animal protein is not the ultimate solution to all our problems, but there are so many doctors that have proven that eating this way we can live a healthier and longer life through many scientific studies. Namely, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Neal Barnard, and Dr. John McDougall. 

If you would like to know more about The Pleasure Trap PhD. Lisle has co written a book you can look up called “The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force that Undermines Health and Happiness” with Doctor Alan Goldhamer.

 

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Wake up call

Around 98% of people surrounding me make fun of people who don’t eat meat. I get it, it’s amusing and steak is pretty tasty. I was also like that most of my life, because I thought the main reason why people didn’t eat meat was not to kill animals. I would tell myself that it was ok to eat animal protein because that is nature and we are at the top of the chain right?

One day, after months of my sister asking me to watch this documentary, I sat down and finally watched Forks Over Knives, and it was an eye opener. What we are doing to our bodies and the planet for a couple of minutes of tasting pleasure just didn’t add up to me anymore.

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I guess the best I can describe how I see us now is as living in one big ship, all humanity in a large ship. The water is the planet, and the ship is the things we need to sustain life as we know it. We have made a hole in the ship and the water is slowly but surely starting to come in. We all know this but because we, the developed countries, live in the top floors and it isn’t affecting our lives yet. So, we keep fighting about who gets the biggest room, who has the most stuff, who gets access to the leisure areas, who can come live up upstairs and who should remain downstairs. We are having babies and worrying about how we can take more money from others, instead of thinking how we can close this hole that’s becoming bigger and bigger and will sink the ship if we continue this way. This just seems crazy to me, because if you sink the ship the water will still be there. But there will be no more rooms, no more floors, not more money, no more life as we know it.

BarcoconmarcoFInal

I do think that what we are doing to our environment is and should be a priority not only to the leaders we choose (or the ones we don’t choose) but to every single individual living on the earth at this moment. We don’t have to wait for the G20 to hold hands, sing kumbaya and save the world, because that is probably never going to happen. We are responsible for this and we can stop it.

Every single decision we make during every single day of our life has an impact. Every single cent we spend can either construct or destruct our future. Here we can share information to help us make wiser and better decisions on our daily lives, so that together we can create a better and sustainable lifestyle.