12 Things to Stop ‘Putting Off’

These are 12 things you don’t want to think about or don’t think about until things go wrong. Some of these tips are life saving, others will just make things much easier if things do go wrong.

Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

These are things you either don’t want to think about, or don’t think about until things go wrong, some of these are life saving, others will save you time, hassle and additional stress.

1.  Making a Will

Almost everyone should have a will, even if you have no assets to leave behind, you can still let your wishes be known, make things easier on those you leave behind by leaving a will.  At the very least leave each loved one a personal letter expressing your love for them, these words may just comfort them in their grief.  Don’t be selfish, one day the inevitable will happen, unfortunately for some, it happens much sooner than expected, protect your family, they are going to have a difficult enough time dealing with losing you.  Having a Will in place won’t make them grieve any less, but it won’t add to an already extremely stressful time, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness.  If you have assets, I do recommend doing a will through a Solicitor, trust me, it will be easier on your family when you’re gone.

2.  Life Insurance

Now I know many of us don’t like to think about the inevitable in life such as our death, but as already implied in number 1, you do need to consider those left behind.  At the very least you should have life insurance that will cover your funeral costs, don’t leave that up to those you leave behind, they will have enough to deal with.  Apart from the funeral costs, there are often other costs, such as wakes, get togethers after the funeral including food, clothes for the funeral, the obituary, phone calls, travelling in order to arrange everything.  I do recommend getting independent financial advise (if you can afford it), as different plans suit different ages and circumstances, and if you can’t afford professional advice, do your own research.

3.  Protecting Your Property

Fireproofing important documents, documents that in a fire / flood would cause you a headache.  If you can afford one, you could get a fireproof safe, if not, then a fireproof / waterproof document bag should do the trick, these are reasonably cheap, the link shows you the cheapest, but you can get various size bags to meet with your requirements, depending on how many important documents you want to protect.

Put all insurance policies, property deeds, bank books and cash, passports, birth certificates, national insurance documents, personal accounts, any document that you may miss if it wasn’t there, these could be personal letters or even photographs that are important to you.  At least you will have one place where you can find all your important documents.

4.  Protecting You and Your Family

In my humble opinion, these are the minimum types of equipment you should have in your home; fire escape ladders, smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors.  You could take it a step further, such as drafting a plan for the family in the event of a fire for example, install in them the best route out of your home in different scenarios.  Another thing you may want to consider, particularly if you have a violent ex in the background, is to ensure there is somewhere in your house both upstairs and downstairs that is lockable, where you could go to to buy yourself some time to call for help.  I know most people don’t like to think of such things, but having a plan and even doing practices, might just save your or your nearest and dearest their life.  At the very least, it should give you reassurance should the worst happen.

5.  Decluttering

Don’t be a hoarder, if you have stuff you don’t use but would leave to a family member, give it to them now, see the appreciation on their face whilst you can.  Make decluttering part of your weekly routine, I constantly declutter, sometimes I will just do a drawer, other times I will have a major overhaul of my kitchen cupboards or wardrobe for example.  I am currently decluttering my books, I literally have hundreds of them in my loft, those that are unwanted by family and friends go to a local charity shop, I do this on a weekly basis as a minimum.  When you’re gone, again this may be another headache for family to have to sort through your junk, make it easy for them.

6.  Your dreams / goals

What dreams do you have? what do you want to experience in life? write down just one dream / goal and dedicate as little as one hour a week working towards that, even if you start just brainstorming.  If money is stopping you from achieving your dream, what can you do to change that?  cut down on spending? get rid of debt? save? have an additional income source? or a passive income?  Whatever it is do it, life is too short, we are here to accomplish, don’t let fear stop you, fear is natural and once you start moving towards your goals, it will gradually diminish.  Write a list of 6 things you want to change in the next 12 months, now write the actions needed to change these 6 things.  If there are major changes you want to make, you may only want to choose 1 thing, and master that.

7.  Career Change

Are you happy in your job? are you doing what you want to do?  If not, then start a plan of action to change this, do you need qualifications to do the job you want? or experience?  Make enquiries around how you can get these, gather costs, if you can do part-time whilst staying in your current job.  If experience is more valuable to what you want to do, look for ways of getting that experience, volunteer, offer services for free, start with just a couple of hours a month, do things that add to your C.V. to show future employers how serious, committed and able you are for your dream job.  Don’t let any obstacles deter you, keep working towards it and you increase the odds of that career change.

8.  To Do Lists

Get those important jobs done on your to do list or those jobs that have been on your list for way too long, schedule them in your planner, be realistic, even if you only get one thing done a week or even a month.  For those big or overwhelming jobs, start by writing  a step by step list of actions needed to get the job done, write them down in the order the actions need doing and do one  at a time.

9.  Breaking a Bad Habit

Do you have a bad habit, that is or will affect your health or wellbeing, we all have some bad habits, it could be anything from procrastinating, negative thinking, bitching too much about other people, smoking or drinking.  Whatever your habit is, vow to break it, having a bad habit is often damaging to us in some way, either your health, psychologically or your relationships.  Make this year the year to bin that bad habit that affects your daily life.

10.  Forming a Good Habit

Do you want to form a good habit? have you always wanted to learn yoga? go for regular walks or runs? get fit and healthy?  start with one small daily change, such as doing one yoga pose a day, do that for a week or a month every day, then add a second yoga pose.  The key is to incorporate an easy achievable action in your daily routine, until it is second nature, then add to this until that becomes second nature and so on.

A good habit doesn’t have to be something physical, it can be something that benefits your wellbeing, such as learning to express your feelings in a positive way, this may be telling someone you love them, a family member, someone you have your eye on, or just a friend, let them know they are loved, not only will this make you feel good, they will feel good too and may reciprocate.

11. Backing up Computers and Phones

This tip comes from very recent experience for me.  About 4-5 years ago, my laptop crashed, I got the dreaded blue screen, it could not be fixed, at the time I was doing a degree and I lost an assignment that was due to be submitted, yes I cried, I tried to replicate it but I was not in the right frame of mind and submitted a load of rubbish.  Did I learn my lesson then, No, unfortunately I didn’t, and just one week ago my phone broke, I went to Apple and they said the phone could be restored but they cannot guarantee my data would be saved, I have pictures and videos of my dog that died last year.  They weren’t backed up because my iCloud was full, I was devastated to be told this, I have found a company that say they can recover my data, so I am about to try them.

12.  Fix Those Broken Things

My home phone broke about 1-2 years ago, I had no incentive to get it fixed because I had my mobile.  It was only when my mobile phone broke, that I felt completely cut off from the world, then by sheer bad luck I was locked out of my mac for one day.  Try going without your mobile, house phone or computer, it feels very isolating, these are the  technologies that are my lifeline.  Don’t delay getting things fixed or replaced because you never know when you will need them.

 

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Four Basic Requirements for Owning a Dog!

There are four requirements in my opinion that are essential for owning a dog; Commitment, Time, Patience and Money, without these things you may unwittingly harm your dog either physically or psychologically.  Do you want to raise a healthy happy well adjusted dog?  then ensure these four elements are in place, otherwise, don’t bother, you may cause more harm than good and cause yourself unnecessary stress if you have to give the dog up.  There are enough people who give up their dog/s because of unforeseen circumstances such as ill health, but there are plenty of people that give them up because they did not realise the commitment, time, patience or money that was needed.  I believe if you don’t apply what it takes to own a dog you may end up with a unhealthy, anxious, nervous or even aggressive dog.

In the U.K. alone “In total 102,363 stray and abandoned dogs were handled by Local Authorities between 2014 – 2015” The Dogs Trust

Some people give up their dogs because of a dramatic life change or even death, but, many do simply because they didn’t realise the commitment it takes to raise a dog. Most people bond with their dogs and the love they have for their dog makes the required commitment easier, but there are some who acquire a dog for all the wrong reasons and then discard them.  Imagine how a dog would feel, finding themselves in a shelter or kennels, everything and everyone they know has disappeared, how would that make you feel?  We as humans need to minimise the negative impact we have on dogs, read on to find out how.

1.  Commitment

Commitment is something most people don’t understand until they have a dog, you may go through a stage where you have just had enough of you dog chewing furniture, or being unable to go on holiday because there is no-one to dog-sit.  For me personally, I would not recommend putting a dog in kennels for when you go on holiday, whilst some dogs may be okay it can be quite stressful for most.  Neither do I recommend having your dog stay with someone else overnight, I speak from experience here so maybe some dogs would be okay.  It is better to keep them in their own environment, i.e. their home and let the dog-sitter stay in your home, they are going to miss you, try not to add to their stress by changing their environment too.  They don’t understand you have gone away for a short time, to them it may seem that they have been abandoned.

Your dog will usually be with you for a long period of time, usually 10-15 years, are you planning changes in your life within that time that may cause you to have to give your dog up, e.g. a move overseas, a new baby, an increase in your working schedule, these are some of the reasons people give up their dogs.  Whilst not every change in life can be foreseen, you just need to think things through first.  It’s difficult, because people get so excited about getting a dog whether its a puppy or adult dog, many times the future is not even considered.

2. Time

There are exceptions, but most dogs need lots of attention, especially when they are pups, if you work full-time then you don’t have the time, unless you put your dog in doggy day care or someone spends time with your dog whilst you are at work.

You need time to take the dog to training classes, you need to taken your dog out and about to get it well socialised, with people (young and old), other dogs, possibly other animals.  You also need to expose a dog to the outside world including traffic, noise, and vet visits.  You need to fully socialise your dog as early as possible if it is a pup, an older dog will need gentle slow introductions to new experiences including other dogs and people.

In the outside world, a dog should experience cars including travelling in one, traffic including buses, lorries passing by and travelling within public transport including buses and trains.  Start slow with short journeys or exposure to traffic, when you first take your pup or dog outside, don’t respond if they get scared, they will pick up on your anxiety, just gently and confidently guide them away from what is stressing them

When I used to take my previous dog out as a pup, he was terrified of cars driving past, so much so that one time he ran head first into a wall, I started to take him out of a night when there was less traffic, I didn’t respond I just carried on walking, I didn’t pick him up when he was scared, even when he was jumping up at me to pick him up, as there was no real danger, he was on a lead.  Slowly but surely he gained confidence to the point where he was not afraid of traffic at all.

Most dogs need a daily walk, you need the time to do this, a dog also needs some playtime with you, most dogs love to have you throw a ball so they can fetch it, or play tug-of-war with you.  Some dogs love to do agility training, you could have some equipment in your garden (if you have one) and teach them, most dogs would love this.  A word of warning when playing with your dog, never ever ‘play rough’ with a dog.

Do you have a back up plan for times when you need to go out or away for long periods of time, in times of crisis, is there someone who can be with your dog or at least visit to take it outside to the toilet, feed and water it, take for a walk and generally spend some quality time with it.  If you leave the house for long periods of time, someone should either be with your dog or at least take it outside to go the toilet or for a walk, feed and water etc. 

3. Patience

Some dogs, especially pups will chew your slippers, the furniture and even door frames, this is natural for some dogs, sometimes they are just teething or being a pup, other times they are trying to tell you something such as ‘I’m bored’ or ‘I need more attention’ or ‘I miss you when you are gone’.  You must never lose your temper with them when they do things you don’t agree with.  You may need to source training for dealing with behavioural problems or nervous dogs and reduce separation anxiety by not leaving them alone for long periods (no more than four hours), you may need to build up to this gradually.  You may also need to find ways to keep your dog entertained whilst left alone, by leaving treats or toys hidden for them to find or buy an interactive toy for them.

You need patience for cleaning up when your dog has a toileting ‘accident’, has been sick. Sometimes at the most inconvenient time, when you are in a rush to leave the house, you have to stop and clean up after your dog.  You also need patience to take your dog for regular check ups, booster needles, flea and worm treatment, administer medications when it really does not want to take them.

If you like a meticulously clean house, forget it, your dog will come in from the rain, just after you have mopped the floors and make a mess of it, it will shake its wet coat all over your sofa, if the thought of this gives you cold sweats, you probably won’t have the patience.

4.  Money

I am not saying you need to be rich to care for a dog but you will need pet insurance and some extra money aside for expenses that may fall outside what the insurance covers, such as an expensive operation and most pet insurances have an excess amount you would need to pay when making a claim.  Vet costs are not cheap, whilst you may have pet insurance as your dog ages the insurance premium will rise because like humans, dogs get all sorts of age related ailments, some of which can be cured or treated at great expense.  There may also be exclusions on the insurance policy because of your dogs age.

Don’t assume because your dog is young it won’t need vet care from time to time or if they are unlucky develop an ongoing ailment from a young age that needs lifelong treatment or medications.  I recommend having a backup fund in case your dog needs expensive treatment that many pet insurers do not cover.

Other costs include training, unless you are a qualified trainer, all dogs can benefit from training, from cute commands like ‘sit’ and ‘roll over’ to commands that may keep them safe like ‘recall’ or ‘stop’.  Socialisation skills are often learned in group training, again this can keep your dog safe and make them less stressed and able to enjoy ‘walks’ or ‘play-time’ with other dogs.

If you work you may need to put your dog in day care, these are not cheap, or you may need to pay for a dog walker or sitter to go visit your dog during the day, again this is not cheap, but good for your dog to have something to break the day up, be able to go the toilet and enjoy a walk.

And of course, there are the costs of dog food, treats, dental chews, puppy pads, booster needles, flea and worming treatments, it is never ending!

Alternatives to Having your Own Dog

I personally don’t feel my life is complete without a dog, my dog passed away four months ago, but my life circumstances changed during the time I had my dog, so I currently don’t have the money or time for a dog.  If, after reading this, you realise you don’t have all four requirements needed to raise a happy, healthy, secure and sociable dog, there are alternative ways to be around and give love to dogs.  You could do this by volunteering at kennels, rescue centres, walking a dog for a neighbour, friend or family member or consider volunteering at an animal sanctuary working with other animals, cows, horses, pigs, goats, or chickens.  I know its hard especially if you love dogs, but please consider whether you have the commitment, time, patience and money for a dog, if you can’t say yes to all four, then say ‘No’ to getting a dog.  If  you are able to provide all four requirements, then please go for a rescue dog, there are tens of thousands of dogs every year looking for loving homes in the U.K. alone.  Life in a kennel no matter how good the facilities and their carers are, is simply no match for a loving home.  Consider an older dog, a dog with health issues or a disabled dog, these dogs need love and attention just as much as a young healthy dog, and it is so sad to think some dogs will live out the rest of their lives in shelters or kennels, never knowing a loving secure home.

You may find you have some requirements to offer such as commitment, time and patience, but not money, in these cases you could foster, as many rescue centres pay for equipment needed, vet fees and even training.  Although, a rescue dog often needs even more patience than usual, some of these dogs have been neglected or abused and need time to trust again. 

Final Thoughts

Know the breed you are acquiring, although all dogs are individual, there are certain traits particular breeds have, some need long walks, some need short walks, some are very protective of their ‘family’, some have particular health risks, learn about a breed before you acquire a dog.

Finally, please stop and think before you acquire a dog, they have emotions, many do not deal well with a change of routine, if you decide after acquiring a dog the it is not for you, you are adding to that change of routine that distresses many dogs, do you want to risk that?  By all means, if you have all four basic requirements for keeping a dog and you have a lot of love to give to a dog, go for it!  Make no mistake, it is hard work, they are a worry, their wellbeing and life is in your hands.  On the other hand, the rewards are amazing if done right, for you, your family and the chosen dog.  There is nothing like the love of a dog, it is pure, unconditional and I believe good for the soul, once you have loved a dog you see the world differently it is relaxing (mostly) and fulfilling.

Healthy Vegan Brown Rice Pudding Breakfast!

Brown Rice Pudding Breakfast

I have this most days for breakfast, I prep it so one batch gives me four breakfasts, it is so tasty, filling, healthy and vegan.

This is taken from the Fork Over Knives website (see above link for their recipe), however, I do it slightly different, see my version below.  You can try both the Fork Over Knives recipe and my version to see which one you prefer.  I don’t use cloves, salt, raisins or apples (I have an oral allergy to apples)

I add banana and mash it up in the bowl once the dish is cooked.  I sometimes add thawed frozen blueberries or raspberries, if they are not thawed I just add to dish and leave overnight for eating the next day.   I occasionally add slivered almonds too.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup pitted and chopped Medjool dates (you can use any dates, medjool are just my preference)
  • Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Teaspoon of Pumpkin or Sunflower seeds (or both)
  • Nut Butter (peanut, almond (my favourite) or cashew)
  • 2 Bananas
  • Blueberries or raspberries (optional but recommended)
  • Slivered almonds (optional)

Instructions

  • Cook 1 cup of brown rice and drain and add back to pan
  • Add to cooked rice; medjool dates, cinnamon and vanilla essence.
  • Simmer with lid on pan on a low to medium heat for 12-15 minutes

Options for adding to cooked dish

  • Pumpkin  or Sunflower seeds (or both)
  • Nut Butter of your choice
  • Banana (mash up)
  • Blueberries or raspberries
  • Slivered almonds if required

Healthy Vegan Brown Rice Pudding Breakfast!

Brown Rice Pudding Breakfast

I have this most days for breakfast, I prep it so one batch gives me four breakfasts, it is so tasty, filling, healthy and vegan.

This is taken from the Fork Over Knives website (see above link for their recipe), however, I do it slightly different, see my version below.  You can try both the Fork Over Knives recipe and my version to see which one you prefer.  I don’t use cloves, salt, raisins or apples (I have an oral allergy to apples)

I add banana and mash it up in the bowl once the dish is cooked.  I sometimes add thawed frozen blueberries or raspberries, if they are not thawed I just add to dish and leave overnight for eating the next day.   I occasionally add slivered almonds too.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup pitted and chopped Medjool dates (you can use any dates, medjool are just my preference)
  • Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Teaspoon of Pumpkin or Sunflower seeds (or both)
  • Nut Butter (peanut, almond (my favourite) or cashew)
  • 2 Bananas
  • Blueberries or raspberries (optional but recommended)
  • Slivered almonds (optional)

Instructions

  • Cook 1 cup of brown rice and drain and add back to pan
  • Add to cooked rice; medjool dates, cinnamon and vanilla essence.
  • Simmer with lid on pan on a low to medium heat for 12-15 minutes

Options for adding to cooked dish

  • Pumpkin  or Sunflower seeds (or both)
  • Nut Butter of your choice
  • Banana (mash up)
  • Blueberries or raspberries
  • Slivered almonds if required

If I Ruled The World!

Photo by Yash Raut on Unsplash

 

These are some of the things I would implement if I ruled the world!

Education

Education would be reformed, starting with religion.  Religion would be taught for understanding only of the six main religions; Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Islam.  There would not be focus on one religion, if parents want to teach their children one particular religion, excluding all others they could do in their own time, not by using tax payers money.  Pupils of all religious faiths would be allowed in all schools, there would be no exclusions.

Religious teachings in schools would not account for more than 10% of education.  Instead time would be spent teaching real life skills, including; living ethically, budgeting, mental health, coping skills, sex education, global warming, sustainability, the impact of capitalism, compassion and respect for all beings (not just human) and above all independent thinking.

There would be monthly speakers from all walks of life, who will speak on drugs, alcohol, drink driving and the most common forms of criminality to educate children on their negatives and impacts, not just physical but psychological.  Real life reformed ex-drug users / addicts, alcoholics, convicted drink drivers and ex criminals would speak about the uncomfortable brutal truth, including how bad things got for them.  Part of the aim would be to change cultures around the glamorisation of all forms of criminality, and that the law will catch up with them.  Family members or friends willing to speak about the suicide of a family member or friend whilst in prison would be brought in.  Meeting people from all backgrounds can show that people who live an honest life, can be ‘cool’.

 

Media

It would be compulsory for at least 30% of television media to provide educational programmes, at least 20% of this should be about health, and must include documentaries around plant based diets and the biggest cause of environmental damage,(currently animal agriculture) with a recommended list of documentaries which  would include the following amongst others, with a minimum of three of these being scheduled at least three times per year:

H.O.P.E. – What you eat matters

Earthlings

Cowspiracy

Dominion

Land of Hope and Glory

Forks over Knives

What The Health

 

Advertising

I would ban advertisements of all non-healthy food and drinks, it is madness to advertise things that may cause you harm or lead to your death.  If you ever doubt the effects of advertising, why is it a multi-million pound industry?  Healthy foods and drinks would be advertised instead of putting unhealthy messages in people’s brains.

All products made by harming animals would not be allowed to advertise, sorry Hermes hand bags.  You do not need to kill animals for bags, gloves, coats, shoes etc, we have technology now where you can make faux leather products, its cheaper, no animals are enslaved, abused or killed and it’s difficult to tell them from real leather (animal skin), how wonderful is that?  

Working Week

No-one would work more than 30 hours per week, giving every person more time to spend quality time with family / friends, pursue hobbies, relax, educate themselves, obtain or maintain fitness or volunteer some time to a good cause.

Remember governments want you to be busy, work long hours, be stressed and in debt, it keeps you ‘occupied’ that’s why it’s called an ‘occupation’, because populations with time on their hands and nothing to lose are a higher risk of starting a ‘revolution’, a scary word for governments.

Treatment of Animals

I would fund an independent investigation to determine a) if any animal testing is effective or essential and b) if there are equal or more effective alternatives to animal testing.  This would serve to show the public the truth.  All ineffective or non-essential animal testing would be banned, if alternative testing costs more money, then that would be a price well worth paying.  

I am not an expert by any means, but suspect the investigation may show the majority if not all animal testing is ineffective and with advances in science, there shouldn’t be any need to test on animals.  I believe most if not all is outdated and unnecessary.  Whilst animal testing is being phased out, CCTV would be fitted in all animal laboratories.

There would be a phased programme to stop factory farming and a support programme to help farmers and slaughter houses transition their business to more healthy, ethical and sustainable products without harming, torturing or killing animals or the planet.

There would be compulsory training for all owners of newly acquired dogs, this would include training for dogs including socialising and training for owners too.  There would be restrictions on dog breeding, to prevent novices doing just to make money who really don’t care about the dogs.  Breeders would have to attend a comprehensive training course at their own expense, some may say this will push breeders underground, there are already plenty of underground breeders, they don’t care about the dogs, they just care about their profits.  Illegal breeders should in my opinion be put in prison, the psychological as well as physical damage they cause dogs can last a lifetime.

Zoos would be abolished, you will pay a small fee to visit animal sanctuaries where you can interact with the animals or volunteer.

All stray dogs above 6 months old would be neutered.

Industry

The subsidisation of animal agriculture would cease, this would be done in stages and whole food plant based producers would be subsidised (for a duration) instead, to encourage more of them.  In the UK, subsidies would be funded using savings made by the NHS due to people being healthier as a result of other implementations previously mentioned.  There will be less diabetes type 2, cardiovascular disease and many other diseases including cancers.  There would be less people on disability benefits, as people get healthier, the need will be reduced.

There would be a prescription only programme for smokers.  Existing smokers would only be able to obtain cigarettes through prescriptions, the cost would remain the same as currently purchasing a pack of cigarettes.  But this would prevent new people from starting to smoke.

Money that currently goes to The British Heart Foundation, Diabetes and cancer charities could be reduced dramatically, because we already know how to reduce heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, by eating a whole food plant based diet, the money charities have would be used to cure diseases and cancers not related to lifestyle choices.  There would then be more money to help developing countries recover from the damage we have done, and to fund animal sanctuaries for the rescued animals that were bred for slaughter.  Animal numbers will naturally decline without the help of man’s artificial insemination methods, nature will be as it is intended.

Certain industries would be non-profit making; water, pharmaceuticals etc.  any profits made would need to go back into the industry, research and aiding developing countries.  The reason the pharmaceutical industry would need to be non-profit making is because they currently make a lot of money from people being sick, this is a serious conflict of interest, no-one should make profits of sick people, that is sick in itself.  Neither should a company make profits from making you sick in the first place.

Politics

I would make it illegal for private organisations to fund political parties, political parties would be funded by the government even if they are in opposition, all political parties would get an equal amount of capped funding, then if they want to squander it on ‘expenses’ they would have little left to fund their ‘cause’.  There would be no conflicting interests, e.g. funding from pharmaceuticals or meat producers causing politicians to hide the truth or lie because the don’t want to lose their funding. Ultimately we will pay for them, and if they don’t hit the mark we don’t vote, if they break the law, they will lose all funding.

In the U.K. there is currently public funding for political parties to fund policy development if you meet certain criteria from the Electoral Commission, this would be their only source of funding.  

Final Thoughts

There are many things missed off this wish list, these are just some of the things I would change, obviously these are high-level ideas, the details and practicality for some may be more difficult, but if I ruled the world these would definitely be my ambitions.

Some may say some of these ideas are controlling, I would say that you need to control a ‘mad dog’ or governments and capitalists to be precise.  Governments use distraction tactics to steer you away from the truth, for example, the truth of the animal producing industry, this is why they feed mainstream media with scare stories.  Stories of other governments / leaders plotting to drop weapons of mass destruction on us, the refugee crisis and far too much time is given to joke entertainers such as Donald Trump, I live in the U.K. why is the news here dominated by Donald Trump?  I stopped watching the news about 8 months ago because I got sick of the same ‘misrepresentations’ of the truth churned over and over again, it gets boring, so I decided to find my own truth.

These are my idealisations, I am not a scientist or economic expert, but a human being who wants to see less suffering, pain and disease in the world for ALL beings.

 

How to Live More Ethically!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

So, you want to live more ethically?  Me too, but in this messed up, complex world of conflicting information, misinformation and lets face it ……lies, it’s not always easy and definitely not simple.  Despite this, here are some suggestions, that may get you those wings or a few feathers at least!

In the main, people tend to just accept the status quo (guilty, your honour!) in terms of ‘this is how the world is’and ‘what can I do to change things anyway’. If you want evidence of how the majority accept the status quo without trusting their instincts about what is morally (not legally) the right thing to do, watch the documentary ‘Dominion’on YouTube.  After watching this, ask yourself one question what can I do to reduce the suffering? Try to answer from your heart without societies influences.  Be warned, Dominion is graphic and heart wrenching, some people choose not to watch and that’s okay.   I am not one of those people, I like to know the truth, even if that truth is grotesque.  Remember, the truth is knowledge, knowledge is power and knowing the truth can lead to change of the masses.  This brings me on to the first suggestion.

Veganism

The first and in my opinion the most direct impact is to live a vegan lifestyle.  Vegan’s get a lot of stick for their beliefs and there are some aggressive vegans, who hinder the vegan movement, then there are aggressive animal consumers too. I don’t agree with any form of individual intimidation even if it is done passively, this is bullying and not an effective way to get people to see your point of view.   I have watched a video on You Tube with one abattoir worker breaking down crying.  Their job is difficult enough, staff turnover at abattoirs is reported to be 200%.  Off course I don’t agree with slaughter and I do believe the majority of these workers will pay for what they do, whether that displays in their own mental health or their conscience, they may even go on to be vegans, it took me 50 years before I woke up.  

Animals are slaughtered because there is consumer demand for it, don’t blame the farmer or the abattoir worker, they are merely our employees, doing what we tell them to do.  There is no humane way to kill these animals, it is wrong and if you stop to think about it, educate yourself you will know instinctively just how wrong it is.  It really riles me when activists abuse those in the industry, show them compassion as they need to come to the conclusion themselves, educate them with facts and overtime I believe things will change.

Vegan products use no animal products and are not tested on animals, hence, no animal suffers.  You don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to use these products but your choices can make a difference.  The best mascara and the only one that does not irritate my eyes or smudge is Poppy Austin’s vegan mascara.  If it became the norm for consumers to purchase humane products, those that use animal products for manufacturing and testing would be forced to change their ways, as it’s the consumer that creates demand, don’t ever forget that.  

The whole world can change if individuals make a small effort.  Don’t think vegan products are expensive, some are but there are many that aren’t.  Astonish in the UK do not use animal products or test on animals, these products are some of the cheapest you can buy and they are great at cleaning too.  Lavera  beauty products are also great vegan products  and very reasonably priced, check out the Amazon reviews.

You don’t have to be vegan either to like vegan friendly food and drink, I was drinking plant-based milks, including almond, hazelnut and oat milks long before I became vegan, because they are healthy and delicious.  Never underestimate what you can do to influence manufacturers, just by changing the milk you drink can save the suffering and lives of animals and dairy farmers may branch out into plant-based milks as demand increases.

There are people who will mock you for your beliefs and lifestyle, for some reason you threaten them, probably because they don’t have the capacity to have insight into their own actions or they choose not to have capacity, don’t mock them back, just do what you believe in, trust me your living ethically will make a difference.  Don’t preach, but when an opportunity arises tell people of the great products you use, write the name down for them if you have to, word of mouth is a powerful form of promotion, use it!

Despite what happens in the world I don’t believe we are designed to kill anything whether human or animals.  In the main, we are compassionate by nature and the way animals are slaughtered completely goes against this natural compassion we have.  On the other hand, I understand vegans feeling so strongly about their beliefs, they desperately want to try to stop the slaughtering.  I don’t believe all people will give up meat (yet), unless meat is scarce, but I do believe at some point in the future, though maybe not in my lifetime that vegans will be in the majority.  To me farm animals are beautiful, innocent, child like, some mistrusting (and rightly so) but most completely trusting of humans, they are gentle and in the main tend not to hurt other beings unless defending themselves or their young.  Ethical lesson number 1, stop eating and purchasing animal products, they deserve so much more.

Want to go Vegan?  Don’t know where to start?  visit Challenge22.com, it is a free resource and if you sign up to do a 22 day vegan challenge, you get  assigned a mentor that will advise and help you every step of the way, if after 22 days you decide it’s not for you, then you have lost nothing.

Charity

I believe a lot more people can give to charity than they currently do, I am talking small regular financial donations or donate time if you have it.  People are more mistrusting of charities now, this is unfortunate but with reports of some CEOs and Directors of charities being on excessively high salaries, I am not surprised of this mistrust.

Find just one charity, what do you support, what in this world do you think is unfair or unjust and what can you do to change things?, make an impact.  If you don’t think you personally can make a difference, find a group that you can support to change things on behalf of others.  To be assured (as much as you can) that your chosen charity is ethical, do your research and not just from their website, find other independent sources, then give as little as £1 a month, even this would make a difference as charities can plan ahead knowing they have that £1 a month coming in.

Don’t Breed or Buy pets

Again its supply and demand, don’t buy or breed pets whilst there are thousands of rescue animals looking for forever homes, adopt one or more if you can.  If more people started adopting rescue animals, supply  would decline, why would breeders want to be stuck with a litter of pups because the majority of people adopt rescue dogs?, they wouldn’t.  I know it can be hard and puppies are cute, but you can get puppies from rescue too.  Give a dog, cat or other animal the chance of a loving forever home, you can change their life for the better.  Check out these sites to see the beautiful animals waiting for their forever home; Many Tears Rescue, The Dogs Trust and the RSPCA, there are also many other smaller rescue centres, google if there is one near you.  If you don’t have the time, money or commitment to adopt an animal, consider sponsoring one, you can do so for a very small amount, e.g. £10 a year and even get to visit them, check out; The Farm Animal Sanctuary or Hillside Sanctuary.  Sanctuaries like these do an amazing job, they not only save lives but give the animals the quality of life they deserve, read some of the individual animal stories, they are wonderful.

Put Pressure on Governments

Do some good in the world even if it is from your armchair, sign online petitions at PetitionParliament.uk.

We have the power to change the world, although it may not seem so, in democratic societies, politicians are our puppets, hit them where it hurts, if we let our feelings be known, trust me they will mostly follow through, they will listen not because they care about the people, they care about votes and we  cast the votes.

Feed the Starving

Okay, I agree this is not the answer to world hunger, it’s doing ‘something’ and it’s fun if you like your online quizzes.  This site has interactive quizzes you can play for free and for every answer you get correct, 10 grains of rice go to feed the hungry in developing worlds.  Its called Freerice.com, give it a try.

Consumer Awareness

Find out where your purchases come from, do your clothes pay people a fair wage or are they made by children for a pittance?  Don’t Know? then find out.

Gather knowledge, get your facts straight, be aware of the sources of information, government websites can and do give misinformation and sometimes complete inaccuracies.  Governments often rate their success on how the economy is doing, so they often don’t have our best interests in mind in terms of health and the environment.  There is a trend at the moment to ban palm oil, however, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there, some say 100% certified palm oil is sustainable, others say it still causes environmental damage.    A great website for getting your facts straight is the Ethical Consumer, a very broad website covering everything from clothing to food and drink and many other things in between.  It also has information about palm oil too.

Minimalism

Minimalism is a lifestyle in which people stop over consuming, they declutter their living spaces which in turn has an effect on their wellbeing.  Isn’t it funny when you live more ethically, you feel better, less mental clutter, this is because the world we currently live in is so far removed from how humans are at their core.

The effects of over consumption impact on the planet too.  I have been decluttering for 2 years now (I had a lot of stuff), some I have sold but in the main particularly lately I am giving stuff away, I do this on a weekly basis and still have a way to go.  I have even downsized my christmas decorations, I have one tree and one ornament.  I only had to put my tree up and put the ornament out and I was all done, it just makes life easier and less stressful.  This week I have given away; beauty products (because they weren’t vegan), ornaments, christmas decorations and dog food, because my beautiful dog died 14 weeks ago, I planned to adopt a rescue dog, but I have decided the time is not right yet, as I am single and work full-time.

Final Thoughts

Mainstream views, mostly learned from governments and the media are often wrong.  Historically mainstream views throughout the world have been wrong about; slavery, women’s votes,  and ethnic groups such as Jews in Germany and the Tutsi’s in Rwanda.  They are wrong now about deforestation, animal slavery and slaughter.  Gather your facts, educate yourself, then try to educate others.  Culture change takes time, most people don’t want to know the truth because they know their conscience will struggle and people mostly take the easy option, the option of ignorance.  I did it myself for a long time.

Whatever you do to live more ethically, remember you don’t have to be ‘vegan’ to use vegan products or eat vegan food, you don’t have to be a ‘minimalist’ to start minimising, you don’t have to be a political activist to sign petitions that matter to you, you don’t have to have money to help the starving, and you don’t have to be an expert to consume ethically.  All you need to do all or any of these things is to have a heart and make a small effort, just 5 minutes a week to explore some of these suggestions may just be enough.  I truly hope you do because your actions matter!

 

5 Catalysts That Made Me Go Vegan(ish)!

Photo by Josua De on Unsplash

Twelve months ago, if anyone would of told me I would go vegan(ish), I would of said ‘WTF’, yet in the past six months, my mindset has changed completely.   Firstly, the reason I say vegan(ish), is because I am vegetarian, moving towards veganism.  I don’t eat meat, eggs, milk, but have the odd occasion over the past 6 weeks or so had a small amount of chocolate and crisp that contain milk (yes this did cause me to go on a guilt trip).  I have found having a vegan lifestyle a challenge, mostly because I simply wasn’t prepared, and the times I have not planned or been prepared are the times I have failed, but I continue with my vegan aim.  However, I am now learning more about vegan friendly products and foods.

I don’t believe anyone changes overnight, I believe seeds are planted, these seeds grow, often without you realising, before you make a change.  These little seeds, some seemingly insignificant on their own, can be the catalyst to making a change.  After some reflection, I have realised the following 5 events / occasions were when those seeds were being planted for my vegan journey:

Catalyst No. 1 – Healthy eating

I made a decision earlier this year (2018), that I wanted to eat healthier, I started doing smoothie’s and generally eating what I thought were healthy foods, organic grass fed meat (whenever I could) and goats milk kefir, wild caught salmon etc.  I started my ‘healthy eating’ in January and started to gain weight because I thought I could have as much ‘healthy’ food as I wanted ………. WRONG, I was having up to 4 smoothies a day, not as meal replacements but as drinks in between meals, using lots of fruits including avocados, berries, bananas etc., most of these fruits once blended increase in sugar, yes it is natural sugar, but it has higher calories.  I was also  having Natures Path Nice and Nobbly Granola as a snack, I just have to squeeze in here, this granola is the best I have ever tasted, which by the way, I could not tolerate (because of the oats).  I was using lots of honey (before my vegan days), and baking peanut butter cookies etc.  What I didn’t realise is, yes whilst these are healthy, they can become unhealthy if you don’t use in moderation, lesson number 1 learnt!

Catalyst No. 2 – Forks Over Knives

Realising I had much to learn about healthy eating, I watched the Forks Over Knives documentary about healthy eating, this planted the first seed (no pun intended) for a plant based diet.  It was watching this documentary that made me realise we really don’t need animal foods in our lives, either for survival or health, in fact, we could be healthier without eating animal products.  This was a bit of a revelation for me, although I knew of vegetarians and vegan’s I had not really delved in to the impressive health benefits of a whole food plant based diet.

Catalyst No. 3 – My Dog Dying

This was probably the most significant seed for me, my dog’s premature death (age 3) shook my world.  Having never owned a dog before, I didn’t even consider the emptiness his passing would leave, this really was life changing for me.  This led me into watching You Tube videos of dogs, funny ones to start with to cheer myself up, then animal rescue videos, which made me cry but warmed my heart, then dogs and other animals rescuing and helping other animals and people.  This made me realise, just like people there are some very special animals out there, these videos are magical to watch and helped to restore my faith in there being a reason why we are all here, including animals.

Catalyst No. 4 – Earthling Ed

From watching animal videos, I came across a video by Earthling Ed, called  ‘You Will Never Look at Your Life the Same Way Again – Eye Opening Speech‘ I am not going to say much more, just watch it and then you will start to question the world in which we live.  This video really changed my mindset and made me want to educate myself about what is really going on.  It was this that led me to Catalyst No. 5.

Catalyst No. 5 – Earthlings

Be warned, the documentary ‘Earthlings’ is one of the most horrific things I have ever watched, it is not a gruesome horror film.  Although, it is real life horror for tens of millions of animals, animals that feel pain and fear, that do not deserve to be treated the way they do.  Oh and don’t be fooled by the ‘grass fed’ produce, these animals eventually meet the same barbaric fate as the rest of them.  Earthings is the most shocking thing I have ever watched, whilst I had always avoided watching anything to do with animal slaughter (like most meat eaters do), I felt I needed to know the truth, and so I watched.  I watched through floods of tears, on occasion I even shouted at the screen Noooooooo!  Such was my disbelief in how cruel so called humans can be.  Watching this, whilst haunting, gave me a completely new appreciation and respect for ALL living creatures, creatures that deserve to live free without unnecessary pain and suffering afflicted by us.  One thing that really struck me, is the emotions animals feel, similar to our emotions, love, fear, and maternal instincts.  Whilst this documentary is extremely difficult to watch, I urge you to watch as we should all know the truth, no matter how painful.  If you watch this and don’t change in any way, that is absolutely fine, at least you haven’t buried your head like I did for so long.  I also watched other documentaries after Earthlings on Netflix.com and YouTube.com these include ‘What the Health‘, ‘Cowspiracy‘ on Netflix,  and ‘Dominion‘ on You Tube amongst others.

Things are changing, be part of that change!

Whilst there are more vegan options out there, we are the consumers who can and should dictate what food is produced.  Vegan options are extremely limited in some places, if I have to eat whilst I am out by either picking something up in a shop for a quick lunch or a pub lunch, it is not uncommon for me to only have one or two options.  This is really not good enough, there is strong evidence that points to a plant based diet being one of the healthiest diets, read The China Study so why are we bombarded with unhealthy choices?  It could be resistance to change, profits or both, who knows.

Vegetarian or vegan are two words that seem to offend some people, before I was vegetarian, I would rarely try the vegetarian / vegan option in a restaurant.  I assumed they would taste weird or by ordering them would put me in the ‘weird camp’.  I was wrong, now some of the best food I have eaten are vegan.  I would like to see more people not necessarily turning vegan, unless they are ready to, but open your mind and try some vegan dishes, you may be pleasantly surprised.  The benefits of this, is that they are often more healthy and your choice of one vegan dish, can save unnecessary suffering.  I have read recently one vegan in effect saves the lives of 198 animals per year, most of which are bred to be enslaved for produce and slaughtered.  I have not researched the truth in this because numbers don’t matter, as long as I do my part and no animal suffers or dies because of me.  This illustrates that the little choices we make do matter, your choice matters.

Veganism is a social movement, change is happening right now as we speak, some corporations are responding to demand, there has been a huge increase in plant based milks for example (well they are delicious), and other vegan products, even ‘Greggs’ the bakers (UK) has announced they will be doing vegan sausage rolls.  I feel hope, hope for the future of animals, the environment, people’s health, hope that farmers will change what they farm, as demand grows, supply will meet it.

In my diet and lifestyle change, my soul is feeling purer than it ever has, nothing else has ever felt so right, I seem to be seeing things and people for what they are.  One day, I believe the ‘Kind’ in ‘Mankind’ will be well deserved!