Articles, Lifestyle

The Inner Self

I’m the kind of person who speaks her mind most of the time. It doesn’t mean that I am loud or extroverted but rather open about my thoughts and opinions. They translate into words but also into paintings, articles, movements. I’m being myself. When I don’t feel well, I’m on the contrary very quiet. 

When I feel at my lowest, I often have the feeling that I am disconnected from my inner self. I tend to put aside everything that I like, everything that gives me energy and feel even more depleted. The inner self is who you really are, what are your purpose, values, vision, beliefs, motivations and goals. 

When I was younger I had a hard time finding my way, deciding which path to follow was hard and I often felt like I also had to please those around me. Lately, I felt like I had lost myself in relationships by putting another person’s interests before mine. Maybe this can resonate with you too.

Sometimes we distance ourselves from our inner selves to please others. We put masks on, we try to be someone else. Sometimes it is simply our ego speaking: we want to prove ourselves, our worth, we want to win at everything. 

Not only is it useless as it can only last a short while, but it is also counterproductive for our personal happiness. There are no benefits in comparing ourselves to others or doing something for the wrong reasons. We should rather listen to our own heart’s desires and do things because we feel like doing them. It doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes, it’s necessary to teach us through experience. 


Distancing myself from my inner self repeatedly taught me valuable lessons. 

I came to realize that I am the happiest when I am true to my Inner self. This means when I trust my intuition, follow the path of self-discovery and when I do the things that I feel like doing instead of the things I think I am supposed to do. I’m also more at peace. Being true to my inner self became a priority. To reconnect with my Inner self I did (and am still doing) a lot of introspection. Finding your inner self requires both introspection and awareness. Once you do find your inner self, you can just be yourself. 

From experience I understood the importance of just being myself, no matter if it doesn’t please those around me. When you are being yourself, you attract those who will feel your energy, and feel you in general. In the end, you’ll surround yourself with people who will support you and love you for who you really are

I discovered that the law of attraction perfectly refers to this. It can be described as the ability to attract in our lives whatever we are focusing on. It supposes that the power of the mind can materialize our thoughts into reality. Basically whatever we have in mind is achievable.

Let’s say you’re having a very bad day and you send out a lot of negativity around you, ranting and being unpleasant to others. You’ll probably attract a lot of negativity back. As human beings we send out our emotions and thoughts and attract more back. It is therefore essential that we check on our own thoughts and emotions.

If we fail to do so, we might send out the wrong messages and attract unwanted things back. Same things goes with intentionally sending wrong messages to try to please people. Whatever we receive back won’t be aligned with our desires. Every decision we make in our lives, good ones as bad ones, have been the result of our thoughts and emotions, and have been determining factors

The law of attract is said to go way back, originally been taught by Buddha himself:

“ What you have become is what you have thought ”

My intention is not to serve you some inspirational life guidelines that you can find in personal development podcasts. I rather think that we are entirely responsible for our own happiness. While we can seek external help for advice and guidance, this work is in the end, very personal

My intention is rather to remind you that in your life, possibilities are endless. Once we do understand that, we realize that we are and always will be, as long as we are living, able to make different choices and decisions. It’s an essential thing to be aware of who we really are and of all the possibilities that exist. It is difficult to learn and to remember,  especially when things are not going well. In dark times it is easy to think that worries and sorrow will last forever. Just remember it won’t.

Stay true to yourself, trust your intuition. To reconnect with your inner self, you can try meditating, going inwards is a great way to find balance. You can also simply pursue things you love. Be gentle with yourself, trust yourself, the process never ends, it is a lifelong journey.

Food, Vegan, Veggie

Masala Chai recipe (Vegetarian/Vegan)

I’m a tea fanatic, I drink tea every day in winter and in summer. My ultimate favorite is Chai masala. The best ones I’ve had were in India. It’s actually one of the best memory I keep from my first visit in this country. My friend and I could simply not stop ourselves from having a masala chai break whenever we could.

In Europe we often order Chai tea, chai tea latte. Originally, in Hindi Chai means “tea” and masala means spice. That’s why in India we call this beverage Chai masala (spiced tea). An authentic Chai masala is not just tea, it’s a strong, sweet, silky, delicious drink, traditionally made with black tea, thick buffalo milk and way too much sugar. What makes it special is the use of spices.

In India, each person has its own recipe and unique combination and it can be tasted at every single corner. There is no right way nor perfect way to make Chai masala, if like me you’re an addict, you can simply find your own perfect combination. Here’s mine…

Preparation time: 20 min

Servings: 2 people


Ingredients

  • Fresh ginger roots
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cup of water (1/4 L)
  • Organic black leaf tea (2 tablespoons) or 2 black tea bags
  • 1 cup of milk (soy, oat, almond, coconut – as you prefer)
  • 1.5 tablespoon of coconut sugar / agave syrup

Preparation

  1. Cut the ginger in slices. Add as much as you want. I usually put a lot of ginger because I really like the extra spiciness
  2. Crush the spices (cardamom pods, cloves, anis)
  3. Bring 1 cup of water to boil
  4. Add the crushed spices, ginger slices and the tea to the water. Let it boil for 2 minutes, then let it steep on a low flame for about 10 min.
  5. Add 1 cup of milk and bring the tea to simmer again for a couple minutes. For a thicker, richer tea, use less water and more milk.
  6. Sweeten your tea by adding the coconut sugar or agave syrup.
  7. Strain and serve


Notes

I prefer to use organic soy or oat milk, wereas the indian tradition would rather be to use whole milk. Choose what you like most.

To sweeten my tea I like to use 1.5 tablespoon coconut sugar or a dosis of agave syrup. You can choose to add brown sugar instead.

Yoga

Essential oils & how to use them for yoga/meditation

I have been exploring alternative medicine options for a while. Two years ago, I healed an otitis in a couple days using only essential oils. Since then I use essential oils every day for different purposes. I integrated them in my yoga and meditation practice as well. There are so many benefits, I wish I had started using them sooner.

Essential oils are basically compounds extracted from plants. Generally extracted by distillation, they are used in aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine that employs plant extracts to support well-being and health.

Essential oils can be inhaled (vaporized, diffused) or diluted and applied on the skin (using a carrier oil or in a bath). Some (not all – be careful) can be ingested.

Aromatherapy is used to induce relaxation but also to treat health conditions such as:


Stress, anxiety
Headaches, migraines
Insomnia
Inflammation, infections
Stomach aches, indigestion, constipation
Skin conditions

Essential oils have various spiritual properties, and can be used in spiritual rituals (meditation, prayers, chakras balancing) with different purposes: grounding, cleansing/purifying, expressing gratitude, enlightenment, aiding spirituality etc. Finally, essential oils can be used daily to freshen up laundry or clean surfaces for example. Here are my favorites:

Patchouli

Probably my favorite. Very distinct smell: a mix of woody, earthy, sweet yet spicy fragrance.

Medicinal properties: Anti-inflammatory, treat skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, eczema, anxiety, stomach ache, constipation, indigestion, fatigue, Insomnia, insecticide, antifungal, antibacterial

Spiritual properties: Stimulation of the conscious mind. Clears the environmental energies (perfect for yoga and meditation practice). One of the most effective aphrodisiacs.

Chakras: First (root) chakra: healing feelings of separation, isolation
Second (sacral) chakra: helping with impotence, feelings of uncertainty, lack of confidence
Third (solar plexus) chakra: relieving nervous tension, stress
Seventh (crown) charkra: quieting the mind

Lavender

Floral, fresh, sweet, slightly fruity fragance. This essential oil gives a feelings of relaxation and happinness.

Medicinal properties: acne, allergies, stress and anxiety, asthma, burns, cystitis, depression, headache and migraines, hypertension, insect Bites/repellent, labor pains, rheumatism, stretch marks, vertigo

Spiritual properties: relaxing body, mind, and soul. Opening to spiritual healing. Increasing awareness. Balance, harmony, and inner-peace.

Chakras: Fourth (heart) chakra: opening the heart
Seventh (crown) chakra: connection with the spirit

Frankincense

Woodsy, spicy fragrance

Medicinal properties: Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, cicatrisant, diuretic, expectorant

Spiritual properties: Emotional detox, balancing and purifying, intuition and spiritual connection

Chakra: Sixth (thrid eye) chakra: obtain spiritual wisdom.

Cedar wood

Woodsy, warm aroma that creates a relaxing and comforting atmosphere


Medicinal properties: Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, diuretic, insecticidal, antifungal


Spiritual properties: Energy purifier, toxic emotions release, spiritual growth. Increases feelings of love, protection and purpose.

Chakra: First (Root) chakra : connect our energy to the energy of the earth. Increases stability, sensuality, and survival feelings.


Tea tree: perfect to treat skin conditions, I use it daily for acne
Lemon: antiseptic, disinfectant. Add a few drops in water to clean your floors and surfaces.
Eucalyptus: purifying, cleansing, clarifying, immune-boosting
Peppermint: cold, headaches. You can try putting a few drops on a tissue for inhalation when you’re having a flu.
Ravintsara: cough, cold.
Rosemary: boost mental functions.

Oil blends for yoga and meditation

Aromatherapy can be easily used during a meditation or yoga session. Rubbing a few drops of oils onto your skin can help you relax, go inwards and enjoy the practice differently. Blending oils will positively affect your mood and your mind. Apply a few drops on your wrist or on your neck before the beginning of your practice.

Here are some examples of blends for your practice:

Lavender, cedar wood and patchouli:
Deep relaxation, reduce-stress
Perfect for meditation or a yin or hatha yoga session

Orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime
Boost your energy
Perfect for ashtanga

Rosemary, lavender
Deep focus, calms the mind
Perfect for meditation

Sweet Orange, Tea Tree, Lavender
Happiness
Perfect for meditation and all types of yoga

Lavender, Chamomile, Cedarwood
Deep relaxation
Perfect for meditation, yin yoga, savasana

BUYING ESSENTIAL OILS

Tips:

  • Avoid essential oils diluted with vegetable oil. Watch out for ‘fragrance oil” “nature identical oil”, “perfume oil” terms. You want pure, non synthetic oils. Put a drop of oil on a piece of paper, if the drop leaves an oily ring the oil is not pure.
  • Buy essential oils sold in dark glass bottles. Avoid clear glass or plastic bottles (spoils the oil)
  • Look for detailed information about the oils and background (origine, content).

Shop essential oils in The Netherlands

Doterra : https://www.doterra.com/NL/en_NL

Holland and Barrett: https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/natural-beauty/aromatherapy-home/pure-essential-oils/

Yoga

30 min outdoor yoga session with me

I’ve recorded a 30 min outdoor yoga session. It’s available in English on my YouTube channel as well.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The session was not prepared but spontaneous, I went with the flow and moved how my body felt like moving, enjoying some morning sun (sound on for birds chirping ) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I’m not a certified yoga teacher, not pretending to be. My teacher training in India is postponed due to the covid situation. But I thought.. why not sharing anyway? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Yoga has so many benefits, both for the physical and mental heath. Wellbeing is very important, especially these days. This video is about sharing a happy and relaxing moment with you, maybe invite you to move a bit with me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Stay healthy, stay happy
Namaste 🙏🏼 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀

Yoga

Yoga for stress-relief

A 20 min gentle practice to help you release stress and tension.

Optional meditation to open the practice:

  • Sit comfortably with a straight back, from the top of your head to the back of your spine
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Rest your hands on your knees
  • Start breathing
  • Focus on your breath (breathe through the nose)
  • If your attention shifts, bring it back to your breath
  • Tip: stick your tongue on your palate, keep the connection while breathing
Food, Uncategorized, Vegan, Veggie

Vegetarian lasagna (vegan option)

4 people

Preparation time 35 minutes
Cooking time 35 minutes

Ingredients Lasagna
1 large zucchini
3 tomatoes
500g pumpkin
2 onions
1 clove garlic
Salt, pepper
1 red chilli pepper, optional
1 can of tomato sauce
125 g Mozzarella (vegan option:Violife Mozzarella 200g)
150 g Vegan parmesan (recipe below)

Ingredients Vegan Bechamel
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp flour
500 ml soy milk
Salt, pepper, nutmeg

Ingredients Vegan Parmesan
150 g cashews (unsalted)
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt

Preparation

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 200°C
  2. Prepare the vegan parmesan: Grind all the ingredients in a grinder or food processor
    Cut the pumpkin in dices, add a tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper, roast in the oven for 20min.
  3. Clean the tomatoes and zucchini, peel the zucchini, cut everything in dices
  4. Chop the onion and garlic, roast in a pan with a fair amount of olive oil
  5. Add the tomatoes and zucchini, a cup of water, cover and let it cook for 15min
  6. Add the tomato sauce, salt, pepper and red chili, cover and let it cook for 10min
  7. Add the pumpkin last
  8. Prepare the vegan bechamel: Heat the oil in a pot (medium to high heat), add the flour and actively stir. Add the soy milk all at once and stir. When you’ve reached the desired thickness add salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  9. Assemble your lasagna: add about one cup of bechamel to the bottom of your lasagna pan. Spread evenly, then add 4 lasagna noodles (uncooked). Add your first layer of lasagna prep, spread some mozzarella on top. Add another layer of lasagna noodles, repeat. When your lasagna pan is full, spread the bechamel sauce over the top evenly.
  10. Bake for 25 min at 200 degrees.
  11. Add the Vegan parmesan on top of your lasagna, put your lasagna back in the oven for 10-15min.
  12. Remove, let cool for 10min and serve.

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Mindfulness: The art of living the present moment

As this year is ending, I’m reflecting on the experiences of 2019, both the positive and negative ones. I recently told my sister that the well-known saying “living in the present moment” always did sound quite cheesy to me, nothing more. One lesson learned in 2019, probably the most important one, is this one: we shall in fact try to enjoy the present moment. It’s easy to say, more difficult to put in practice. 

I thought I was living in the present moment, trying to make the most of it, feeling content with what I have and taking each day as it comes. I recently came to realize I wasn’t. 

2019 has been a year of self-care. I’ve put the focus on myself, it was very much needed: taking a slow pace, going inwards, taking the time for me to figure things out. 2019 has also been a year of solitude: I’ve embraced it, I’ve accepted that I needed it in order to grow and distance myself from my old patterns. I went on my first solo trip, refused to take part in many social events I would usually attend. I draw the line: I wanted to be alone

Halfway through the year I realized I was maybe closing myself too much. That’s the thing with solitude, with being independent, it shouldn’t mean not inviting others into your life. Isolation can be necessary, yet it’s not necessarily better. By October I figured the walls I had built around myself as a person were very high. It was a good protection, but maybe too much. I figured I was closing my heart and in fact myself to new opportunities. I had refused countless social interactions, but also intimacy with other people. A change occurred and surprisingly enough, I fell in love. That’s not really the point of this article, nor the fact that I got heartbroken. I see this experience as a lesson but mostly as a blessing: I welcome this reminder that my heart works and that I am able to feel

I bring this up because it helped me realize the importance of living in the present moment. My last relationship was easy at first, very much uplifting. It was good times, easy interactions, a deep connection and happy moments. Until it wasn’t anymore. It became all about hopes, fears, projections. What does it mean, how is it going to be in the future, what if it doesn’t work? It ruined everything. As I see each and every experience as a lesson especially the hardest ones, I figured, isn’t it this the biggest lesson of all? At least I see it as another reminder to live my life in a more mindful way.

Here’s the thing: we are constantly running. We run in our daily lives, to catch a bus, to be on time for work, interviews, parties. We run and we are always looking for the next thing to plan, to do. We are hurrying in the search of happiness too. We view  happiness as an ultimate goal, as something we will reach, achieve, by any possible means. If I work hard enough, I’ll have more money, I’ll be more happy. We are looking for happiness in the future, worrying about it constantly. When we aren’t, we’re worrying about the past, letting old things bring us down. We wish we could relive the past, sometimes change it. In all this mess, and all the negativity it brings (overthinking, stressing …) we tend to forget the most important of all: living in the present. Being grateful for what we already have. 

I thought, well…this must be what it’s all about. All the cheesy quotes, the idiotic sayings I overlooked. There must be some truth behind it after all. As I deep-dive into the concept of mindfulness (the “psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment”), it all makes sense to me. We shall indeed focus on the present, on what we have, and seek happiness in it. Being more mindful is a key element for happiness. Being happy now, not in the future. Being more mindful also significantly reduce both rumination and unnecessary worry. Who wouldn’t want that?

Another saying pops into my head as I’m writing these lines: “Happiness is a journey, not the destination”. It is very true. There is no way to “find” happiness, nothing in the world can bring it to you on a silver plate. The amount of time, all the means, all the things, all the efforts, all the money in the world will not bring you happiness. Happiness can’t be found, it is already within you. If you are not happy today, chances are you won’t be happy tomorrow either. Simply because there is not even a guarantee that you will be alive by tomorrow. This sounds pretty harsh, but it’s a fact. We should stop running after happiness, and find it in the present moment. Enjoy things as they are, and let them be. Simple to say right? How to put these thoughts into practice?

A good way to do so is firstly to take the time to enjoy things. We can start by slowing down, using mindful practices such as meditation, watching our breath, to help us refocus on the here and now. Then, of course there is yoga and using asanas to refocus. It’s the practice that speaks best to me, but it could be a different one for you. It’s up to you to find a way to practice mindfulness. It’s not easy, but it’s not supposed to be. One thing is sure though, it won’t be harder than living a life on endless dream-chasing and overthinking. 

Yoga

Choosing your Yoga Teacher Training (YTT)

If like me you have decided to enroll in a yoga teacher training program, you might have faced the following struggles.

While scrolling the internet to organize my trip I got quite confused: with so many options out there, choosing a school and a program can be overwhelming. Where to go? How many hours to select? How much to spend? 

If you too are confused about all the options available, this post is for you. Using my own experience, I’ll try to help you. 

How many hours should you select?

YTTs available are: 

200H: the basic certificate recognized by the Yoga alliance. It is the most common YTT, which covers all the fundamental elements of both yoga anatomy and philosophy. The 200H taught can be spread over an intensive month or over a longer period of time.

300H: second level of training or “Advanced Yoga Teacher Training”, available for yogis who have already completed the 200H program. This training goes deeper in both practice (more advanced asanas) and theory (advanced anatomy and philosophy). 

500H: highest international standard for advanced yoga teachers. Your overall yoga knowledge will be deep (asanas, philosophy, anatomy). 

A lot of students will choose to spread a 500H course over two intensive trainings (200H + 300H), go abroad for some months to get certified, and spread the whole training over a couple years. Some other students will choose to enroll in evening classes, near their hometown. Some will join an intensive 500H training to get certified quicker. There is no perfect choice or length. The most important thing selecting your program is choosing a training that works best for you. 

Choosing a certified school

I recommend to select a RYS (Registered Yoga School) certified by the Yoga Alliance (https://www.yogaalliance.org/).

The Yoga Alliance is setting the standards in terms of certification, their website is listing all certified schools with an accurate description of the program they do offer. Choosing a certified school is not mandatory.

Legally you do not need a 200H RYD certificate, but many yoga studios will ask you for one. If your yoga school is not certified, you also won’t be eligible for insurance for example. Not getting certified will reduce your chances of teaching, but mostly your chances of teaching safely.  

Where to go?

India being the Mecca of yoga, many students choose to go there to complete their training. It was my first choice as well, for different reasons. First of all India is well-known for its authentic yoga philosophy and practice. Great trainings are offered by great teachers and gurus.

The most famous places for your training in India are Rishikesh and Goa. Then, YTTs offered in India are cheaper than anywhere else (USD 800 – 2000 on average). Finally, India can be a very good option if you’re looking to dive deep in yoga culture and get a very specific specialization. YTTs in India offer many specializations: Tantra, Yin, Ayurveda and so on… options are limitless.

However, if  you choose to enroll in a YTT in India there are a few things you should be aware of. India is a highly contrasted country, culture shock can be quite intense on you. Just be prepared for it. India’s living standards (food, cleanliness) are very different than European ones, so if you’re a bit “difficult” with your comfort standards, I would advise to maybe avoid this country.

Other destinations are very famous for YTTs:

Thailand is a very good option. I would recommend you to select schools on Ko Pha Ngan, a very special island where very good trainings are offered. Living standards are better than in India, and the training prices are still fair.  

Bali is probably THE dream destination to select for your teacher training. The island is magical, so spending some time over there will not only allow you to complete your training, but also to enjoy the many wonders of the destination. The only con is that YTTs in Bali are (very) expensive, overly expensive if you ask me (USD 2500-5000+). Yes you will be enjoying your stay very much, but you can probably find equally good trainings for cheaper somewhere else.

Doing a YTT in Europe is of course possible, many options are available. I chose not to attend one of those trainings because they are often more expensive than in Asia, and I also consider the experience slightly less authentic.

Nepal: A good choice if like me, you have always dreamed about the Himalayas. Going through schools reviews available online, I found out that yoga schools in Nepal are overall slightly better rated than the ones in India.  

Comparing options

I used the website below to find trainings, but also to compare the options available:

https://www.bookyogaretreats.com/

The website offers complete descriptions of the courses (workshops, retreats and YTTs), reviews, and filters to narrow down your search. 

What should you pay attention to make your choice?

First you should choose what type of yoga you like the most. Usually by the time you start thinking of doing a YTT, you already know, but not always. Again, there is no rule for that. If you are still unsure; an option could be to attend a general YTT.

I definitely recommend to do some serious research before selecting a school. Programs can vary a lot so do a background check on the school (history), teachers and the syllabus offered. Ask for an accurate description of what’s been taught and how many hours are dedicated to each part (practice of asana, theory and so on). This in order to choose something that resonates with you and your teaching goals.

Before selecting a school, I would also definitely recommend to use word of mouth. I talked to people who had been on YTTs, asking for advice and help. Always a must. 

How much does it / should it cost?

YTTs prices are on average between USD 1000 – 3000. Some schools offer 200H trainings for USD 800, but I would not recommend to select such an option. For such a low price, accommodation can be really basic and the quality of the training reduced as well.

Other schools offer very attractive yet very expensive packages: USD 5000 and more. If you can afford it, there is no problem with selecting such an option. But again, you can find equally good trainings for cheaper.  

Where will I be going?

I want to enroll in a 200H Hatha and Vinyasa program offered in India. Currently, my project is on hold.

 

Articles, Uncategorized

Gratitude

Growing also means improving, right? Unless you can grow by staying your good old self, which I rather doubt. I personally try to often reflect on my own behavior and habits.

One of the things I noticed is that I’m often ranting. Part of it is I believe, deeply cultural. I’m French and French people like to complain about anything and everything really. It can vary from unleashing a few “i’m so tired” every single morning to a ranting level that could easily lead to another French revolution. I too, like to complain about things on a daily basis. Small things, bigger things.

Complaining is human, we all do it. But complaining is deeply negative, especially if you do it a lot. For sure there are some aspects you can feel unhappy about, and you are allowed to express your feeling of discontentment. Some days are harder than others, life is a mix of ups and downs. The trick is not to fall into a perpetual circle of discontentment. Negativity brings negativity.

As I became more and more aware of my tendency to complain a lot, I really tried to make a change. One thing I’m trying to set as a routine, is to practice being grateful instead.

It seems to be rather an easy thing to do right? In practice it’s not that easy. In our lives we tend to focus harder on the negative things, than on the positive ones. As an example, when someone asks us how our day is going, we tend to highlight negative events first.

“My colleague annoyed me”, “my boss sent me extra work”, “I’ve missed my train and had to wait 30 minutes at the station” are common answers. How many of us would answer “I’ve helped the neighbor take the trash down and it made her happy”, “my lunch was extra delicious today”, “I’ve met an old friend and it was nice catching up on things”. Ranting is easy, it comes naturally.

To help practicing daily gratitude I chose to include this routine in my daily yoga one. I decided to choose to select and reflect on one daily thing I am grateful for doing Shavasana (yoga asana, usually closing the practice). It does not have to be something huge, it can be about anything. Usually I don’t”t even have to think about it, there is one thing naturally popping up in my head. For example, some days I’m grateful for my dog not being sick, for a phone call I had with my mom who lives far away or for a great time with friends. It helps me acknowledge the small, beautiful, ordinary daily things.

It’s quite easy to find and point out the things that aren’t so great, it’s harder to acknowledge the things that are. Some things are taken for granted: our health, well-being, the health of our loved ones. We take such things for granted until they go wrong. Everyday, I’m trying to be grateful for the things I do have, instead of whining about the things I can’t change. There will always be things to rant about, there will be unfortunate events, missed trains, failed interviews, heartbreaks. It’s part of life. If everything was beautiful and easy, in the end we would complain about it as well.

You can choose your own way to practice gratitude: have a personal diary, make it a daily or a weekly routine, do it through random acts of kindness… whatever works better for you. Hopefully it will help you keep things in perspective and be more positive.

If you already do practice gratitude, I would be interested to know more about it. Leave me a comment to let me know what your daily routine is and how beneficial it is for you.

Food, Vegan, Veggie

Amsterdam Vegan & Vegetarian hotspots

Vegan Streets

Street food – Restaurant & to go

Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian friendly

“The best vegan hot dogs in Amsterdam!”: Their slogan says it all and is really accurate: hotdogs lovers, this place is for you. You can choose from a range of hotdogs (Berlin with sauerkraut, Mexico with pico de gallo & jalapenos, Tokyo with Teriyaki sauce and so on). I highly recommend their sweet potato and red onion side salad: delicious!

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Adress: Johan van Hasseltweg 68

Website: N/A


Cafe de Ceuvel

Cafe – Restaurant – Bar

Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian friendly, carnivore options

A perfect hotspot outside out of the crowded city center. A small heaven for vegans (non vegan options available) where you can enjoy some live music, participate in numerous events (second hand clothes market, yoga sessions, readings…) all year round and even take a dip in the canal when the sun is out. The cafe was entirely built out of recycled materials. A must do and a second home from me!  Located at De Ceuvel, an “award-winning, sustainable planned workplace for creative and social enterprises”. 

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Address: Korte Papaverweg 2 t/m 6

Website: https://deceuvel.nl/en/


De Kas

Restaurant

Diet: Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan & Gluten Free Options

“From plant to plate”

De Kas cultivates more than 100 delicious vegetables in their own sustainable & organic garden. Their menu changes weekly and offers a large variety of fresh products Fixed menus ( 3 or 4 plates for lunch, 5 or 6 for dinner – no a la carte) can be tailor-made for you if you have any allergy and plates can be paired with a selection of wine. An an extra you are able to visit their garden on spot, well-worth the experience!

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Address: 3 KAMERLINGH ONNESLAAN

Website: https://restaurantdekas.com/


Mr & Ms Watson

Restaurant

Diet: Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan & Gluten Free Options

Vegan kitchen, gourmet comfort food. A good choice for cheese lovers: a great variety of (awarded) vegan cheese is available, you will barely notice the difference.  Lovely atmosphere and friendly staff as a plus!

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Address: Linnaeuskade 3h

Website: https://watsonsfood.com/?utm_source=tripadvisor&utm_medium=referral



The Avocado Show

Restaurant & To-go

Diet: Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan & Gluten Free Options

“Pretty healthy food”: a mix of great looking, delicious dishes. A perfect pick for avocado lovers, of course: it’s declined in multiple dishes from main to dessert or drinks. Pretty busy, especially during week-ends. Make sure you can be patient, no reservation is possible at the original De Pijp location. 

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Address:

DE PIJP: DE PIJP: Daniël Stalpertstraat 61 HS (restaurant)

DOWNTOWN :Keizersgracht 449 (restaurant – reservation possible)

TO GO: Willemsparkweg 152-

Website: https://theavocadoshow.com/


Golden Temple

Restaurant

Diet: Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan & Gluten Free Options

Indian restaurant; intimate location where they keep their motivation to offer the most conscious delicious cuisine to a wide variety of dietary preferences. A selection of raw and living foods is also available. You will want to come back.

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Address: Utrechtsestraat 126

Website: http://www.restaurantgoldentemple.com


Meatless District

Restaurant

Diet: Vegan, suitable for vegetarians

Serving fresh dishes, mostly organic and homemade. Seasonal menu 100% vegan with great variety. Recommending the delicious hummus!

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Address:

DE PIJP: van Woustraat 189-191 hs

OUD WEST: Bilderdijkstraat 65-67 hs 

Website: https://meatlessdistrict.com/