Sunday, 28 June 2015

Vegan Delight

Vegan food, Michelle Louise Love

This was only going to be a quick post tonight, but once I started writing it was like verbal diarrhea, so please excuse the lengthly rant.

 About 2 months ago I made the decision to transition onto a mostly vegan diet. I have a chronic condition called Ulcerative Colitis and although it's mostly under control I was getting stomach aches nearly every day of varying severity. As a side line to this disease I also suffer from Anaemia and could fall asleep standing up because I'm always so tired.

I'm advised to take lots of medication to keep these things under control but much to my consultants despair, I don't want to have to take lots of pills every day. I have been looking for a more natural way to handle things and even gave gluten free a shot last year but it didn't have much of an effect for me, so the search went on.

I stumbled across a video about veganism and started to do some heavy research into it. There were lots of obvious health reasons to give it a try. I went into it thinking I may find it difficult, I wasn't vegetarian and I was a huge lover of cheese so wondered if I would cope going cold turkey (sorry).

I have surprised myself though, I haven't found it difficult and actually don't miss a thing. On my birthday I went out for dinner and chose to have a halloumi burger due to the limitation of vegan food on the menu. Much to my surprise, it left me feeling quite sick and uncomfortably full up. I am more than happy eating plant based, and never suffer from that horrible, painful sick feeling if I eat a little too much. If you go plant based you are less likely to eat yourself stupid, but even if you do it won't leave you feeling like you could vomit if someone poked you in the belly. It also doesn't leave you feeling almost comatose after a big meal.

A question I get asked all the time is "do you miss anything?" My answer is, not really. I can walk into the kitchen at work and stroll straight past the doughnuts and cakes without feeling the urge to want to give in just for one bite. I just have this acceptance that I can't eat that and it really doesn't bother me. It's very strange and completely out of character for me, I am a total foodie and if I was ever on a diet I would inevitably give in and stuff a doughnut or two in my mouth because I couldn't control myself. So to be able to walk past all the sweet treats and not feel a single ounce of deprivation is quite unbelievable.

When I entered into this I said to my boyfriend that I wanted to see if it would help me feel better, but I had no intention of being 100% vegan for the rest of my life. I still won't make that statement because I don't know how I will feel further down the line, but I honestly feel different about it now than when I first made the choice to give it a try. I feel like I could be vegan for the rest of my life, but for the time being I will probably describe myself as living on a mostly vegan diet. I have no burning desire to eat any animal products because I'm quite happy eating the way I am, I think if I was to eat something non vegan it probably wouldn't be meat though. My eyes have been opened to the suffering that a lot of animals go through in order to fulfil humans desire to eat as much meat and dairy as we do.

If we didn't consume as many eggs for instance, there would be no need for battery farms where thousands of hens are kept in tiny cages they can't turn around in and know no existence outside of those bars in order for them to keep popping out enough eggs to go with your dippy soldiers.

I feel sad that our greed for these products is causing so many poor animals to lead such sorrowful lives when you could make a couple of simple swaps and halve the amount of meat and dairy you eat.

I'm not suggesting that everyone becomes vegan, but I wish that more people would open their eyes to the horrors that are going on, in order for you to have your morning bacon, eggs and latte! If everyone was to swap a couple of meat and dairy items out of their weekly meals it would bring down the demand for these products and therefore the need to keep the animals in such horrific conditions.

Outside of that though, the vegan diet is very healthy. You would be upping your intake of fruit, veg and whole grains which are all very good for your body and your digestion. I'm eating far less crap than I ever have before in my life. I haven't eaten a cake in over 2 months and consume far less fat that I did before and that can only be a positive.

vegan food, roasted vegetables and red rice

I get asked a lot what I do eat, because people assume vegans live on lettuce! I have porridge for breakfast most days because I really enjoy it, I make it with alpro coconut milk, or coconut dream. Sometimes I'll have a bagel with non dairy butter. Or fruit and soya yogurt.

For lunch I'll often have a rice salad with houmous, or a wrap filled with houmous, spinach and edammame.

Dinners are all sorts of tasty things from veggie burritos, to roasted vegetables with smoked paprika and red rice. People have asked what I can have for dessert, thinking I may be missing out. I make banana ice cream (blended frozen banana) alpro desserts, the caramel one is my favourite. Ground rice pudding made with coconut or soya milk, sometimes I'll even have some dark chocolate.

vegan food

I'm not missing out, I doubt I would be able to continue if I was. I am more satisfied with my food options now than I was when I had no limitations!

I feel excited by the vegan options out there and the abundance of tasty recipes you could try. I have an entire pinterest board dedicated to vegan food!

It doesn't all take hours to prepare and cook either, it could be a simple as shoving some falafel and chips in the oven and would take the same amount of time to cook but a lot better for you than the ground up crap you'd get in a shop bought chicken nugget! And in case you have some kind of aversion to healthy food, there is plenty of vegan junk too! Crisps, salted nuts, dairy free ice cream, dairy free cheese, veggie sausages.

I am starting to feel much better for it as well, I knew it wouldn't happen instantly. It was a big adjustment for my body but now I have been doing it for a couple of months I have noticed the difference. My stomach aches have subsided, I very rarely get them, and I have to say quite often if I do get tummy ache it's because I've had cous cous so I may well be a little sensitive to wheat. So I will try and keep it to a minimum. Who knows where this will take me when my body is completely used to the change, I may develop super powers! ; )

kale and savoy in tomato and chili sauce

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Margie & Doll media launch

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the Margie and Doll media launch at the beautiful Hylands House in Chelmsford.  It was a stunning evening, the weather was gorgeous and warm which admittedly didn't help much when I decided to go a back route to avoid traffic and managed to get myself a little lost and very flustered and hot!

Hylands House, Essex

When I arrived at Hylands House all was serene and the beautiful building was complimented by the evening sun. After meeting up with the lovely Nicki,  we made our way inside where we were greeted with a much needed glass of prosseco and were told a little about how Margie and Doll came about.

Margie and Doll
Margie and Doll

 The business is the brainchild of Nikki Da Costa-Smith, who's love of fashion stemmed from her nan and great aunt whom she lovingly named the business after. Her concept is to bring the joy of shopping for great clothes straight to your home or venue to save you the hassle of travelling, battling with the elements between stores and being pushed and shoved by people you don't know to get to that perfect item. She cannot however guarantee you won't be pushed and shoved by your friends whilst reaching for that must have little black dress, although I'm sure she'll have more than enough of them to go around.

Margie and Doll
Margie and Doll, Essex

Nikki has brought together pieces from brands such as Traffic people, Pink Flame, Charlise and Rinascimento which you'll be able to peruse with a glass of something chilled and bubbly in your hand in comfort. A Margie and Doll "trunk show" can be hosted almost anywhere from your home, to a venue of your choice or even your place of work and the lucky hostess will be rewarded for their efforts by receiving 10% of the events total sales to spend on themself.

Margie and Doll, trunk show
Margie and Doll

Margie and Doll, Hylands House, Fashion

It certainly seems like a lovely way to shop and socialise and beats a tupperware party!

Margie and Doll

After a wonderful evening I said my farewell to the gorgeous Hylands House and promised I would visit again soon.

Hylands House
Hylands House

To host your own trunk show contact Margie & Doll

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The power of make-up

There has been a video floating around on social media about the power to change your whole look with make-up. Make-up is a very special medium for expressing yourself and giving you more confidence, but there is a fine line between it being for fun and it being necessity.

I think the pressure on women in today's society is very high, we are faced with images of models and celebrities looking "perfect" and feel pressure to look like them because everyone has come to accept those images as real, which of course many of them are not. There is no denying that a lot of those woman are beautiful but they are also photo shopped to look even better than their real selves, editing out each and every flaw they have on their face and body and even editing out things that aren't flaws but are normal human traits, making the rest of us feel inferior for having pores on our skin or blood vessels in our eyes!

Make-up can make you feel amazing, but if you have confidence issues it can also make you sink so low and make you feel that you have to wear it to feel acceptable to society or hate looking in the mirror without it on. I'm all for make-up, I based a career on it so I love it dearly but I also hate seeing women who feel so inferior without it that they won't even let their partner see them without make-up on, or can't leave the house without a full face of make-up. In those instances make-up isn't the answer, there is a deeper issue and make-up will always have a hold over you and prevent you from truly being free.

So here I am about to put myself out there for the whole internet to see what I look like without make-up on, on a far from good skin day as well!

Not particularly pleasant, my skin is far from perfect and always has been. I never grew out of the teenage phase and still suffer break outs frequently. My eyes are quite round, and my lips are naturally pale.

Michelle Louise Love, make-up

After make-up, my skin looks better, my eyes look bigger and more elongated, I have eyelashes and eyebrows (which admittedly I don't very often bother to do, shock horror!) In our society today there is a growing pressure from our peers as well, if you look through beauty blogs and YouTube you will see a million images and tutorials on how to do your eyebrows or contour your face, instilling the idea that you have to do those things to be considered attractive!

I don't believe you have to contour your face on a daily basis as part of your make-up routine, in fact I think too many people contour their nose without even really understanding what they are doing to it and if they need to contour it to begin with, they are just following the rules laid out by their favourite beauty guru! Not everyone NEEDS to contour their nose, adding shadows to the side of your nose and highlight to the centre is a trick used to make a wide nose look slim, are you telling me that each and every girl that contours, has a nose that needs to look slimmer?

The focus needs to be on each of us being individual, unique and beautiful because of that. We don't all need to follow the same strict beauty and make-up rules because we are all different and will need different things to accentuate or play down our features.

Below are a couple of images taken on my tablet using the beauty face feature, it smooths and makes everything look a bit better. This just goes to show that we are seeing "real" images less and less these days if even our phones and tablets photo shop us to look better.

Michelle Louise Love, make-up

Just remember, you are beautiful with or without make-up. Seek out a partner who makes you feel that way even when you are in your holey pyjama's with your hair a mess and no make-up on because they are the ones who are truly worthy of your love! Learn to be comfortable in your own skin, because it will make you happier than always feeling the need to hide behind make-up.

Make-up is for fun, not to make you a more acceptable person.

If you're interested in seeing the make-up I used for this look, check out my facebook page where I show you.
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