10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants

I love eating healthy food and I prefer to visit affordable restaurants! This is the list of my 10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants in 2019, where you can go and find healthy food any time of the day. I have stated which ones have good gluten-free options, and all restaurants are in different price categories as well as locations on Manhattan (where I live) My first choice would always going for an organic restaurant, and most of them in my list do focus on offering organic food, except for a few. These are easy going restaurants the bring-your-friends-or-family kind ( no reason to overdress), with a good take-out and delivery selections.

MY Top 10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants of the moment:

  1. le Pain Quotidien (LPQ): This is a staple place to visit whenever you need a good breakfast or lunch. As a true dutchie, I love bread. Since I stick to a gluten-free diet, I am so happy that they have THE BEST GLUTENFREE BREAD IN THE WORLD! There, I said it. LPQ also has great salads, breakfast items, many vegan and vegetarian options (a leaf sign on the menu means the dish is plant based), and most of what they serve is organic. This also counts for their coffee and decaf coffee. My favorites are the different tartines, the chia seed pudding, the lentil avocado salad. LPQ is take out and sit down. Multiple locations around the city. $ www.lepainquotidien.com 
  2. HU Kitchen: This is a great place with paleo dishes and take out treats and juices. That means everything is gluten-free, no dairy, and organic. They serve organic meat, chicken and vegetarian plates.  My favorite is the chicken burger. Every weekday they have a special, sometimes that is a vegan and gluten-free pizza (love it!) One location on 5th avenue between 13th and 14th $$ www.hukitchen.com 

    HU Kitchen NYC
    The Paleo Chicken Burger at HU Kitchen
  3. Dr. Smood: a chain with restaurants all over the city, this place calls itself "probably the healthiest cafe in town. They have a philosophy that people should spend their money on organic healthy food (the real healthcare as they say) and not on doctors. I love getting chocolate treats here, and the strawberry shake is delicious. www.drsmood.com
  4. Caravan of Dreams: A hole in the wall, this eclectic restaurant is dark and cosy, and a perfect place to take your friends for a vegan meal. Everything is vegan, organic and even kosher. They also serve a lot of raw food dishes. They have live music almost every night of the week. Favorites: all salads are amazing! I like the house salad dressing a lot, and the mediterranean salad. I love their seitan. Also the smoothies are great, and i like the ravioli of the day with sautéed greens, garlic tomato sauce and avocado. The raw brownie for desert is delicious. $   www.CaravanofDreams.net
  5. Spring Natural: Formerly Spring Street Natural restaurant, I order from here a lot as well, as they have daily changing menus, with a lot of vegan and vegetarian options. On top of that they try to get organic and local ingredients where they can. Think of this place as an American healthy diner. The salads are huge and their stir fry with veggies and rice can never go wrong. After 40+ years they moved from Spring street to a location just around the corner on Kenmare street. $    www.SpringStreetNatural.com
  6. Bare Burger: Yes it is an organic restaurant and serve juicy and calorie-rich burgers and milkshakes, they also have a big selection of tasty salads and even many vegan and vegetarian options for a burger. I LOVE the black bean burger, and the fava bean falafel. $ www.bareburger.com

    Bare Burger dinner
    turkey burger with gluten free bun and sweet potato fries at Bare Burger
  7. Cafe Clover: This restaurant has a very beautiful look, and I love their out-of-the-box healthy salads and dishes. Sometimes a bit small, and maybe sometimes pricey, it is a nice place to have a nice date with a friend or lover. You can sit outside on the nice terrace too! By the way if you go here, also check out the Clover Grocery next door, as it has delicious organic treats! $$ www.CafeClover.comCafe Clover Salad
  8. Eataly: This inside market across the street from Madison Park gives you a chance to eat the most delicious local dishes. Everything is divided in categories. Of course I like to sit in the vegetable section, and sometimes in the fish section. It is worth a visit even if you don't sit down for food. $$ www.eataly.com
  9. Candle Cafe: I am always amazed by the warm filling nurturing delicious dishes they come up with. Full of many veggies, they are a treat and I keep coming back. The restaurants are completely vegan restaurants and located uptown in the Upper East and Upper West side.  Favorites: anything really. I am drooling just thinking about it. And especially the dishes with seitan. $$ www.Candlecafe.com .
    Candle Cafe
    2 of the yummy vegan Candle Cafe dishes that change daily.

     

  10. Westville. Probably not organic, but they have the biggest selection of vegetables. I love to order the market vegetables plate with a choice of four vegetables on the market vegetable list. they also have other nice options, I also like the veggie burger. Nice ambiance to hang out with friends.  Multiple locations $ www.westvillenyc.com

Love, Lonneke

All pictures by Organice Your Life®

Curious to know what changed in my list of 10 best healthy NYC restaurants since my last top 10 list? Check out my previous 10 favorite restaurants HERE!

Last tip: If you suffer from celiac disease you should be careful with these restaurants even if I state they have gluten-free options. There is no guarantee that there is no cross-contamination.


Avocado on bread

More Bread Please.. or not?

I  love to get fresh baked, organic bread.  Eating it with some fresh organic butter, yum! Many people say it is not so good for your body ( think bloating, gaining weight etc.), and some say it is especially a bad idea when you suffer from an autoimmune disease like Celiac disease or Hashimoto's disease. Scientists think people who have an autoimmune disorder like Hashimoto's disease like I have, have a body that sees gluten as an foreign invader and want to fight it, but accidentally mistake thyroid cells for gluten therefore also attacking the thyroid, oops! But I LOVE bread! How can I live without bread? Is that even possible? It is! I have been gluten-free and eating no bread for almost 10 months now on the AutoImmune Protocol diet, and it is hard, but my bloodwork does come back better with 35% less inflammation if I strictly stick to this AIP Diet. But I still crave bread every day. I think I always will have a bread addiction, even if I don't eat it. Let's explore my love of bread a little more!

Different kinds of bread that I love

The famous Italian ciabatta, the French baguette, the multi-grain breads that you can find in the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden to name a few countries with great heave multi-grain breads. Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods in the world. Nothing gives a house a nicer smell in my opinion, than a loaf of fresh baked bread.

Lonneke at a farmers market looking at organic bre
Lonneke at a farmers market looking at organic bread

A few fun facts on bread

  • *Bread is usually made with simple ingredients, love & attention. You only need (wheat) flour, water, yeast and salt to make the bread. An oven to bake it, and some time to spend to make it. Bread is usually eaten the day it is baked.
  • *You know the French bread goes stale pretty quickly, as they are not allowed by law to use preservatives. That's why some French people buy fresh bread twice, in morning, and afternoon for dinner time (imagine the image of a French person on a bike with baguettes in the front basket or on the back of the bike under the carrier straps) You can revive stale baguettes by spraying it lightly with cold water, wrap it in a towel, and then put in a preheated oven on 350F for 5 minutes. You can also use stale baguettes by chopping it, spraying it with olive oil, and putting it in a preheated oven on 350F until the pieces get a brown color and become crunchy. Great addition for soups or salads. Talking about recycling!
  • French toast, a worldwide favorite sweet dish, is made with leftover bread slices. (another great way to recycle bread) Dipped in a mixture of lightly beaten eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon and then baked in a bit of butter. In my home country it is called "Wentelteefjes". Adding a bit of maple syrup, agave syrup or anything else sweet you like, it is a great Sunday Morning breakfast. There are so many different varieties in the world!.

    French Toast
    French toast
  • Another great thing is bread machines, if you are not that great of a baker. You can add all the ingredients and after about 4 hours you have fresh baked bread. There is a timer so you can time it. You can wake up in the morning with a great smelling house and warm bread! I can also add flaxseeds, raisins, cinnamon, nuts. Or olives, dried tomatoes for savory bread. The shape is not really like what you are used to for a loaf of bread, but it does taste good!

Abigail O'Neill shared a great recipe to make your own sourdough bread.

Avocado toast is my favorite

Check out this earlier article I wrote about Avocado Toast

Avocado on bread by Cafe Gitane
The famous Cafe Gitane avocado toast!

Going gluten-free

I was very sad when I found out I should not eat gluten anymore. I now only look and sniff at organic breads at farmers markets and bakeries. But luckily, more bakeries bake gluten-free bread, which is a great idea! You can also bake it at home, and I will go into gluten-free baking more on organiceyourlife.com in the future.

Le Pain Quotidien has their own loaf of bread made of seeds and gluten-free grains.

In Memory of Bread

To get over my mourning over bread, I read this great book called "In Memory of Bread" by a guy who was just like me obsessed with bread (and he was also obsessed with beer) until he found out that was exactly what was making him sick. (He suffers from a serious wheat allergy). His book shows him mourning over the loss of bread, his memories of eating freshly baked bread, brewing beer and his road back to health. While sharing reasons why he got to suffer from a serious wheat allergy, he is also finding solace in his gluten-free food future.

book in Memory of Bread by Paul Graham
Book in Memory of Bread by Paul Graham

I will always love bread, and if you can still eat it, please enjoy it as much as I always did!

Love, Lonneke

 


The story behind GMO

"OMG GMO!"  There is a lot of commotion around GMO seeds & food in general. Specifically around a few Big GMO Corporations who are engineering these Genetically Modified Organisms. Let's just go into what this whole fuzz is about and if you should be worried.

Where can you find "GMO"

It is very likely you and your family ingest GMO ingredients daily by eating (processed) foods, supplements, drinks & snacks. It is basically possibly used in most foods you eat. But what is it really? And how do you know in what food GMO ingredients are used? Let's start at the beginning and I will tell you all that I know.

What is GMO exactly

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. That means that the DNA of the organism (food item/seed, fish, animals) has been altered, changed. Genes are taken out, and genes from other organisms are put in place, so that that seed is able to grow faster and withstand diseases and other negative influences from outside forces. This means the DNA is completely changed. The produce maybe looks like what you are used to, but it is nothing at all what it used to be. It can actually mean the fruit & vegetables you know, that you find now at your vegetable stand on the market in a gigantic, perfectly shaped form. (which is not natural. Normally there are many different varieties of vegetables, not one is alike) There are also Genetically Modified (GM) salmon, corn, and there are issues right now with GM wheat. Basically gen-tech companies are trying out their technology on every part of organisms alive right now. A few big players are Monsanto, Syngenta &  Bayer.

Most technology and innovation so far has brought us so much good and new information, wealth & success. It was just a matter of time people would try to change and "make better" essentials for living like water, air & food.

Why do Big GMO Corporations change DNA of our foods?

Because they say that it will "strengthen" the product and the farmers will have a better harvest with better crop and less loss due to diseases, bugs or bad weather to name a few problems every farmer deals with every year. Food products are made to withstand more hars weather condition, which the pro-GMO people say is needed to be able to feed the World and make food cheaper. And don't we all want to feed everyone in the World and pay a low price for it too?

Some of the GMO issues:

GMO Problem 1: Bee Killing

The "Frankenstein" GM seeds surprisingly enough are able to grow to a full grown food item, but there is a side note: ONLY with certain kind of pesticides, that is of course sold by the company who engineered the GM seeds. And these pesticides are a big problem because they seem to have caused the death of about 90% of wild bees and 80% of domesticated bees in the USA in only a short time period. (with the so-called neonicotinoïds) We need bees to pollinate our crop to grow. So that is big problem. Without bees: no food: no life. No matter how much money you have or money you make: without bees life is pretty much impossible.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqA42M4RtxE

Ever wondered why beekeepers and bees have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles on the road from one place to another? Why do they have to travel anyway? The  reason is that there aren't that many bees to pollinate our foods anymore and beekeepers need to travel their colonies to pollinate all crops around the country, which wasn't needed a few decades ago...

RELATED:  Save the Bees!

GMO Problem 2: Infertility

Another problem of these engineered seeds: They are infertile. Yes, infertile. That means they can't reproduce. We have grown foods for millions of years and never have we grown or eaten foods that were infertile. We could grow foods, and the seeds from that food, we could sow and then next year you have a new plant. Growing food was a simple basic thing in life. It is how we did agriculture for as long as humans exist on Earth, but things seem to change rapidly. Not too mention that there have been reports that eating GM foods can make people and animals infertile too. That would mean we would stop reproducing. That would be a quick way to limit the amount of people on the planet, and that sounds pretty scary.

Normally produce has seeds in it. Ever eaten seedless grapes or watermelon? That is not normal. It seems convenient having no seeds in vegetables or fruits, but remember: those seeds are there for a reason.

GMO Problem 3: farmer dependence/vendor lock.

A few Big Corporations have patents on these GM seeds and have a monopoly in this field. They sell their GM seeds to farmers, who then can use them one time only (remember these seeds can only germinate once) with buying the pesticides the same company offers and then they have one time only a great harvest (hopefully). What happens the next year? The farmer has to buy the seeds and the pesticides again from this company: making the farmer dependent only on the Big Corporation.  "Vendor Lock".

GMO Problem 4: cross breeding/contamination and patent infringement.

If a farmer does not use the seeds from these Big Corporations, and one GM seed is found on their farmland, they are forced to from that moment on to buy the GM seeds from then on. And with GMO land being everywhere it is possible that organic land gets contaminated with GM seeds due to cross-pollination through the wind blowing it onto the land or rain making it seep into the organic land to name a few possibilities. So more and more farmers are forced to buy from these Big Corporations, and you can imagine this is a growing number.

Farmers feel with these patents have no choice and are with their back against the wall. When land is contaminated with GMO, it is hard to clean it and some countries even needed to burn down entire pieces of land to try to get rid of it. But if one of these Big Corporations find out you have even 1 seed on your land, you need to pay up, or you get sued because you are "using their patented seeds" and "we can't know for sure if you don't have more than 1 seed on your land". Like farmers really want to have GMO seeds that badly... well anyway... It is said that many farmers are suffering and don't know what to do or how to take care of their family without being forced to pay the Big Corporations. Down hee you find a YouTube documentary about recent issues.

It is said that in India alone about 200.000 farmers have committed suicide because they did not know how to pay off the debts they have with these giants or how to move away from these Big Corporations. They thought suicide would be better for their families.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlYzd8bM9xg

GMO Problem 4: Agent Orange and other pesticides causing diseases.

Large amounts of pesticides are ingested by people when they eat food that has been sprayed with pesticides. Pesticides are no good and are said to cause a big range of serious diseases. And GMOs are also said to cause diseases like big cancer tumors.

One of the main pesticides that was used in the past is called "Agent Orange", and was also used by the U.S. military as part of its chemical warfare program during the Vietnam War. Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects as a result of its use. The Red Cross of Vietnam estimates that up to 1 million people are disabled or have health problems due to Agent Orange. It was manufactured for the U.S. Department of Defense primarily by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical.

Monsanto is also the company that invented the DDT, "Roundup" herbicide and the growth hormone rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) that would help cows give 10 to 15% more milk. They also invented the sweeteners Saccharine, and they also were the producer of Aspartame, which is a very controversial sweetener used in everything from light sodas to "no sugar" sweet foods (Check labels!).

Other GMO issues:

GMO crop and their pesticides are very hard on the environment. it completely depletes the ground from all their essential minerals making it in the end unfit for any other crop growth in the future.

GMO decreases biodiversity of this World enormously. There are less diverse plants growing due to expansion and reducing costs of producing foods. The strong ones win. Some seeds even have built-in pesticides to make the crop resistant to bugs, animals eat it and they die because of it. Less Biodiversity = less life & fun on Earth.

GMO's aren't labeled in most places in the World. No one knows when they buy something with GMO or not. The Big Corporations are fighting to not have their GMO foods labeled, for instance in the USA. Because they say that there is no proof that "their GMO foods are any different nutritional wise than non-GMO food." But if you are so proud of your product you would expect these corporations be more than happy to label their products? Clearly not. It seems to be more than fair to label foods, just like the labels "Organic" and "fairtrade" so consumers can make a careful choice of what they want to feed themselves and their family.

Around the time President Obama signed the same-sex marriage act, he also signed the "Monsanto Protection Act", as some anti-GMO groups call the bill, which has been written by Monsanto itself, an which has come into place to "protect" farmers. It really means bio engineering companies like Monsanto seem to be "above the law" and they are protected from litigations, given immunity from Federal Courts, even in case their products turns out to be harmful for consumers. (check link above for more information about the Act)

Stand up against GMO's

There is a lot of discussion Worldwide to decide what to do with this whole GMO thing. So Far the USA has voted in favor. In China some shipments of GMO crop have been denied. There are also countries that have banned GMOs in Europe like France, Germany, Bulgaria, Italy & Hungary to name a few. Some have even burnt down ten thousands of acres of GMO seed infected farm land and asked the Big Corporations to leave. The European Union is deciding what to do with this "seeds" issue and wanted to put a certification in place for all seeds. But this would not be a good idea either because 60% "certified" seeds would be owned by these Big Corporations again. And if for instance you grow plants and then give seeds from it to your neighbor, well that would be illegal. So far the Netherlands have voted against a EU law like that. But there is hope. it can be different. A country like Bhutan is considered to be 100% organic, and a lot of other countries as said have banned the use or import of GMO. So it is still possible to fight it. The GMO issue is changing daily so it is worth to follow the news regularly. And speak up of course too if you want this all to become clearer.

GMO, it may sound smart and great engineering, and I even agree with that it is amazing that scientist are able to completely change nature this way, but I will say it is A VERY BAD IDEA. It seems a few Big Corporations want to "own" and control the entire food system worldwide with their patented system, with crop that can't reproduce itself, and therefor every person who has to deal with the Big Corporation in the future to be able to get the most essential thing in life: food.

One good thing: you have a movement against GMO: The Non-GMO Project that is starting to label foods that are proven to be GMO free. Check for the label on the product packaging.

The gigantic control of these Big Corporations of the entire World food system & the unknown health impacts of GMO are the reason why a lot of people Worldwide marched on May 25th in the so-called "March Against Monsanto".  In the past most people did not dare to speak up against such powerful companies, as they basically have their people in every powerful position in the country's government and government food safety institutes. People were afraid of such a powerful force. But more and more people notice this GMO issue is affecting them, that if they don't speak up, nothing changes for the better.

Over 2 million people worldwide in 400+ cities in 51 countries got on the street and spoke up about what they find important: safe food, GMO free and fighting for labeling of what is GMO. This is only the beginning. They are bound to make this a more worldwide issue as it is. Bees are dying, the environment is suffering, more and more food related diseases are rising up... it is a mess. Money and profit seem to go over people, animals and the Planet.

March Against Monsanto, Union Square, NYC, May 25th 2013
March Against Monsanto, Union Square, NYC, May 25th 2013

Lonneke at March Against Monsanto NYC 2013

Lonneke Engel at March Against Monsanto, Union Square, NYC, May 25th 2013

They were marching again in October 2013, and they say they won't stop until GMO is labeled on all products and even better: GMO use has totally ended, and only natural organic foods are in our food system. (if it is even possible to reverse the effects from growing, developing and eating GMOs)

This is what we should do to protect our food supply:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GUxC_nojsU

There are few studies regarding GMO, that don't show that it is that great. In France a research showed rats fed with GMO corn develop huge tumors. Maybe these studies aren't totally accurate, but there aren't any researches either that can totally state that GMO food is safe for consumption. So far all proof on every level is against the use of GMO and the monopoly of a few companies Worldwide.

People think they can trust the government of their country always making the right decisions regarding the most important things in life: air, water supply, food & safety. People think they can trust that what is for sale in the grocery stores and on the farmers market is healthy, natural and organic. But it seems along the way, money and profit have taken over that initial goal.

Thankfully more and more people are standing up for the good cause, and aim for a 100% organic agriculture. Technology is not always bad, there are also companies that are trying to get better results in agriculture but without altering the DNA of the food, but bringing more efficiency and sustainability to agriculture and less use of water, energy and sunlight even.

WATCH MORE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6OxbpLwEjQ

There is a company I am following in Den Bosch, The Netherlands called PlantLab. A representative of this company , Gertjan Meeuws, was in a tv talk show with me last year where he told about their ventures. It is in my opinion not my ideal way of growing crops, but maybe there are areas around the World where this could be a solution. What I was told is that they grew vegetables finding the most perfect environment for each vegetable they grow. It takes about a year to find the ideal situation for each vegetable. And that means it is in a room with LED light, the perfect amount of water and nutrition given to the plant,  and it is more energy efficient than any mass agriculture business out there. What you need to grow all the vegetables you like, is so small it can be placed in houses and big buildings and feed people locally. I tried a pepper, and it tasted pretty good! Is that the future? Local small farming in house? Or is it still that nothing beats organic farming outside in the Sun and rain? (even if too much Sun and or rain is maybe not that great for the plant?)

Also, Worldwide there are Organic/Eco farming movements. I went to one in Ibiza called Casita Verde for a shoot and I loved it. People do everything on the land together, the farming, the cooking and they stay on the farm and cook and eat together. There is a lot of happiness and the food tastes great! Every Sunday in the Summer you can join them for lunch for a small price.

LonnMarieClaire2012-1
Lonneke for Dutch Marie Claire 2012 at Casita Verde

People don't want eat something engineered in a laboratory. People don't want to be a science project. That is never a good idea. I choose and fight for organic foods with their OWN DNA.

If we all unite on these subjects, we will stop all the big corporations that are only in this thing for profit.

What can you do?

I think it is a great idea if everyone grows some vegetables and fruits that do well in the climate of their own garden, and then share it with your family, and people locally. But one powerful thing you can do: only buy food you believe in. That means you should shop consciously and read ingredient lists and educate yourself more on these ingredients.

We have to go back to growing our own pure, natural unprocessed foods without any additives, and definitely with their own DNA. Making money over health is not what people want. People want happiness, time spent together with family, nature, organic food, clean water and clean air. Let's not forget that that is the most important to keep you alive, healthy & happy!

Love, Lonneke

UPDATE: MONSANTO WAS SOLD TO BAYER

This way the toxic name Monsanto will be erased from people's daily lives, but the toxic substances will stay. We now have to just be more careful and keep a good eye out for Bayer's endeavors with this acquisition.

Monsanto was sold to Bayer for $66 billion , and the sale was finalized on June 8th 2018.

Bayer adds Monsanto's toxic legacy to it's own

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Nwd_1XvUGI

 

More Information regarding my story

First published on June 2nd 2013, updated in 2019


renovating my bathroom on a budget

The past weeks I have been renovating my bathroom. It was a big task but I learned a lot along the way.

My bathroom

When I moved in 13 years ago my bathroom was dark grey. (see top of bathroom, I kept it that grey. Not only because I like a two-tone wall, I live in a loft and I am simply too short to paint that high up)  I liked the tiles on the floor, but the bathroom was a bit cold and dark in my opinion. the rest of my apartment was very colorful (bright green, orange and blue walls) that my bathroom was the opposite. The past years I have been updating the rest of my apartment and the colorful walls have become more neutral tones, it was time to get my bathroom updated too! I spread all the work over the course of a few weeks (sorry hubby and guest for having to use a bathroom that was a work in progress during that time!)

Renovation essentials to "organice" my bathroom

Years ago I bought this paint that was a lovely olive green color. Since that time I did not make time to update the bathroom, so it was still sitting there in a can. Luckily it was still good! But I had to get a few other things to start this renovating process:

  • paint brushes
  • paint rollers in different sizes
  • paint roller covers
  • painters tape
  • paint tray
  • plastic covers for the floor
  • spackling paste
  • putty knife
  • sanding paper, soft and coarse
  • acetone
  • old rags
  • alcohol
  • water and soap
  • vacuum cleaner

How I started renovating my bathroom

Day 1

First I added spackling paste in all the dents and holes using a putty knife and let it dry for a day.

Day 2

Tried to paint an area to see how it would look.

Had to do a 2nd layer of spackling in a few spots and sand them when they were dry.

Day 3

Next sanded the surfaces a little bit so they are smooth. I had a bit of water damage her and there, and tried to sand it down as much as I could. The only other option was to remove the cabinet doors, but I do not want to do that right now. So I made it look the best I could!

I wiped everything off with some water and soap, and some rubbing alcohol to remove grease

Day 4

Add tape to tape off the areas I wanted to paint

More spackling in the areas on the walls that were damaged.

Day 5-8

Started painting the doors and insides of the bathroom cabinets. I had to use a primer for the sanded surfaces and painted 2 layers of white:

and I had asked a representative of the Janovic Paint store to give me advice on which white paint I should get for my bathroom.

Day 9-16

Started to paint the bathroom walls Antique Olive by Glidden in semi-gloss. ( I had bought this color of paint at Home Depot.)  Since the walls were dark grey I had to paint over it at least 3 times. I used a small roller and paint brush for the small crevices and hard to reach areas, and a larger roller for the large areas. I let it dry at least 1 day in between the layers of paint. I have to admit it was a lot of work and it seemed to take forever which was a bit discouraging, but I kept telling myself the result would be worth it. (and that turned out to be true!) I also ruined a Patagonia sweater and Alternative sweatpants as they now have paint stains on them.. oh well, time to go shopping there again! (And using these items for when I paint again, for instance my art work)

Tip: Instead of rolling my paint roller in the paint tray, I used the brush to add paint onto the roller. It took a bit of time, but I did not waste much paint and I also did not spill as much when painting high up.

Day 17

Cleaned up everything using water and soap, baking soda and vinegar. Old rags and acetone are used to remove paint stains. You have no idea how much a bathroom improves by just giving the bathroom a good scrub.

Day 18

Redecorated the bathroom adding some ornaments I found that are complementing the new color. I went shopping at TJ Maxx as they have great items for very cheap for my bathroom! Hung up my favorite photo of Fairest Photo, one of a rusty fire hydrant in NYC that matches the green really well. Added a new shower curtain, scent sticks and new  bathroom floor mats.

Result of my bathroom renovations

Because I did everything myself, the financial budget was very low, I think I spent altogether less than 150 bucks including paint, brushes, bath mats and a new shower curtain. Looking online at what it all costs, I probably spent even less than 100 bucks on it! But I did spent a lot of time on it, and some say that time is money. For me it was very therapeutical: I started a project, and finished it, without stress and in my own pace. Painting is good for your mindfulness, stress release and lowering cortisol and adrenaline. You also have time to think about stuff in peace and quiet. ( or you turn on some music while painting, do what suits you best!)

Tip: People advised me to go neutral. But a good color done in a stylish way, can really make your walls pop. Most of all, you need to choose the color that you love, as you will be the one constantly looking at it while at home.

Now I look at my bathroom and am happy whenever I spend time there, whether it is for a long time while having a nice hot shower, or just a few minutes. Putting in some effort to renovate, fix up or update your home, is worth it, especially if the result makes you feel warm inside every time you see it!

 

Love, Lonneke


Detox your information overload

Thanks to technology, our lives have become so much easier and better organized. We can search for and find anything we want, whenever we want, on the Internet. We read and learn about everything and anything. Now there are even apps for everything you can imagine. We order fashion, food and gifts online, we read the news, we watch videos. It is pretty great!

Social Media and information overload

Some of us interact with people even more on social media than in real life. But maybe all that technology and information comes at a cost. Many of us are suffering more and more from a so-called “information overload". How can we filter what we need to know without getting obsessed? How can we detox our lives from the ever-increasing amount of apps, websites and information that is thrown at us each day? And how can we keep focusing on things that matter in our own lives and live in the moment without losing sight of what’s going on around us? How can we find balance?

When I realized I had a problem

I once received an email from YouBeauty stating:“Distressing world news can make you feel worse about your personal life.”Yes, it’s true for me as well! When I read too much of the bad things that are going on in the World, I can feel pretty down because I feel the need to help everyone, fix the situation myself, and use my voice to let everyone know what is going on. I especially feel I need to inform the clueless people who have no idea what is going on because I think that they are not aware, and maybe even ignorant.

Protecting myself from an information overload

But maybe some of those people are not ignorant; maybe they are just better at filtering all the news and information. Maybe they are better at shielding themselves from bad news and too much information, and choose only to work with what they find the most important, and in the meantime live their lives the best way they possibly can. I used to check my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram multiple times a day, like every hour or more. I would send out messages to the World so much, and be interactive with others, that it swallowed up a large part of my day. I felt it was my duty to use my voice to inform people about global disasters, about why it is important to eat organic food and not GMO foods, why fracking is a no-go and why you need to adopt a pet instead of buying one at the pet store. I was doing so much at once, and I was not focusing at all.

The strange thing is that in the end it seems I did not make much of difference. It just took up a lot of time, and after every day, my head was spinning. I only realized how much time I spent on social media when I accidentally left my phone at home. I also realized most of what I was doing in my day on social media, even though it came from a good heart, wasn’t making me feel that great emotionally. It actually made me sad. I asked myself: Does it make me any happier seeing people “like” my picture or my story? Do I really make a difference this way right now? Do I really need to read all news? Do I really need to share all that makes me sad? The answer: not really. Also, when I noticed that every picture people took of me captured me typing away on my phone, I realized it was too much. I became a bit of an addict and I need to change that so I can live more in the moment, be consciously hanging out with the people I am with at dinners, and only take in the information I need so it does not drive me crazy.

Courtesy of Lonneke EngelNow I spend more time away from my phone, and doing fun things like walking my dog!

What did I do to change my addiction to information

  1.  First of all, I don’t sit on my phone or computer too late at night anymore. When you work on your computer or phone, or watch TV just before going to bed, it can disrupt the making of melatonin (sleep hormone), and it can make it difficult to sleep or have a good night of sleep at all. Sleep is so important for a healthy body and mind. Also, your head might still be working hard to process all that information you read, and you might still be thinking about it at night. It is good to do some meditation, or cuddling with your partner or pets just before you go to sleep, to have a better night’s rest.
  2. Check your phone at set times and only a few times a day. I do that when I am behind my computer working, for instance. I checked news and social media every hour before; now I check only one or two times a day. And not when I am in the company of people. People don’t like that because you are just not really present in the moment—your attention is somewhere else.
  3. Have a goal when you go online, and only visit websites, apps and social media with that goal in mind. Don’t just go surfing because before you know it, you are online for hours... information overload! And if you are shopping online, know what you are looking for, because you can get distracted easily and end up with three new dresses and a new handbag.
  4. Set a time limit if you want to just roam the Internet or social media, because it’s so easy to lose track of time.
  5. Leave your phone in your bag or even at home when going out to meet friends or spend time with your loved ones. When I don’t have it with me, I don’t feel the urge to check it every five minutes. Or turn all notification signals off if you want your phone with you for safety reasons.
  6. I deleted the social media apps on my phone. Not only does that save storage space, but you can’t log in easily and you are not reminded every time you get a “like,” tweet or message. It takes your attention away from your phone and social media.
  7. What also makes me feel more productive is to make a to-do list every day and just go at it point by point. With a to-do list, my work behind the computer became increasingly more productive. I was not surfing away on the Internet and wasting time and reading too many unnecessary articles.

I need to focus on my life, and I’m working on it! I need to live a life that I am proud of by focusing on things I find important, like only buying products from people and places that are either fair trade, organic or locally sourced. I also try to focus on doing something fun each day—cooking good food and spending time doing things I love with the people I love (and for which I did not have time before). Without my technology distractions, I get more out of my day and am much happier.The fact is, we can’t change the World all by ourselves, but we can change our own lives and hopefully inspire others with that. We need to use the information and technology at our disposal to our advantage, but without letting it take over our lives.

We must LIVE IN THE MOMENT, as once it has passed, that time will not return.

Love,Lonneke

Copyright text Lonneke Engel. First published on Youbeauty in 2013


That time I did an 1 day juice cleanse

I once did an one day juice cleanse. All the way with the cheesy "I kiss my juice" pictures as proof.  I had a bit hangover from just drinking 2 bellinis at the Operation Smile Ball the day before. So when you don't feel so great, what do you do? Exactly you take care of yourself! Eating really healthy is your own medicine. So I decided to visit Organic Avenue.

About Organic Avenue

Organic Avenue was a vegan and rawfood chain in New York City. It was founded by Denise Mari, and back in the day I did an interview with her. There were so many new Organic Avenue Locations popping up around town at one point. To me it seemed they had a lot of success, but they also seemed to grow too fast. After a few years Denise sold the company, and from what I've read, she came back on board to run the company.  OA incorporated different foods into the menu besides cleanses (the vegan chicken and waffles was great!) but eventually they went out of business :( . Sad story of a vegan health food store I enjoyed so much in NYC! I notice many of my favorite restaurants have gone out of business, it is just part of doing business in New York City.

Organic Avenue Soho location
Organic Avenue Soho location before it closed

Now back to the juice cleanse story: There used to be an Organic Avenue Location in Soho, close to where I live, and I decided to do their one day cleanses.

The 1 day juice cleanse

I received 7 bottles of juice. 1 small one to start the day with chlorophyll, and 6 juices.  You were told to drink water in between..

1 day cleanse from Organic Avenue
1 day cleanse by Organic Avenue

8.30 am

Let's start this juice cleanse! I woke up tired and had my first juice at this time. A chlorophyll shot that made my tongue green! It has a specific taste, but it is not bad. Chlorophyll comes from plants and is an "extremely important bio molecule, critical in photosynthesis, which allows plants to absorb energy from light."- Quote from Wikipedia  

chlorophyll shot
chlorophyll shot

10 am

My first real juice is a nice simple orange juice. A great way to start a morning with some sweet citrus fruit juice.

orange juice
orange juice

12 pm

Green Love juice. Cucumber, celery, chard, spinach, pear, collard greens, kale, romaine, parsley, lemon juice. This one is a bit hard to drink due to the large amount of greens in this juice. So it took me a bit longer to drink this juice!

Green Love juice
Green Love juice

2.30 pm

Turmeric Tonic,  lemon juice, ginger juice, purified alkaline water, coconut sugar, turmeric, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cardamom, himalayan salt. This one was spicy but I actually liked this juice! It tasted a bit like something from the Middle East because of the spices. I drank it quite fast.

Turmeric Tonic
Turmeric Tonic
Lonneke & Turmeric Tonic
Lonneke & Turmeric Tonic

4.30pm

Veggie Vibe: carrot, cucumber, beet, celery, chard, spinach, ginger, parsley, lemon. This one is hard again! Took me longer time to drink. But you feel really healthy drinking it.

At this point I felt really energized and fit! Getting so many minerals and vitamins in, plus water is really doing good for your body, right?

6.30 pm

Spicy Avocado Soup: avocado, purified alkaline water, spinach, lime juice, celery, cilantro, garlic, Himalayan salt, jalapeño, cumin. This is my least favorite. maybe because of the garlic and that it is thicker. It took me some effort to drink it.

Lonneke & Spicy Avocado Soup
Lonneke & Spicy Avocado Soup

8pm

Last juice of the day! Fresh, sweet coconut juice. I love ending a day like this with something super yummy!

Although some people do cleanses a few days in a row, I think it was nice to just do a one day cleanse. This way it does not "shock" your body while still replenishing your body with the essential nutrients. It is also a great that for that day you have a plan, and the 7 juices keep you on track. You don't have to think what you are gonna eat or what's for dinner at night. The cleanse is telling you that already so it relieves stress that way as well!

Why a one day juice cleanse might be good for you

Because you drink the whole day so you are very much hydrated.  And you don't have much time to feel hungry. Right when you feel hungry, you have the thicker Spicy Avocado soup that is filling. I think anyone can do a 1 day cleanse to just feel better and get rid of toxins or indigestion, if you don't get tempted by any food! So do this during a rainy day when you are likely to stay at home, or if you are stuck at the office with no food in sight, that's my recommendation.

You start to appreciate food more while on a cleanse, that is for sure!

Why juicing might not so good for you

You notice there is a lot of parsley added to the juices. This is because parsley contains lots of Vitamin K, a lot of antioxidants, which helps our bones and strengthens our nervous system.(that's good!) But I only learnt later that Parsley, other green leafy vegetables and beets contain a lot of oxalates and goitrogens. I will go into that some other time why that is actually not so good for some people like myself (oxalates can form crystals in your body and can cause kidney stones, goitrogens slow down a thyroid). Not to mention the high sugar intake which research suggests due to the lack of fiber that helps release sugar slowly into the blood system, a juice is causing a sugar spike. And juices that are not pasteurized, can bring harmful bacteria to your gut which can cause a whole other range of issues.

Maybe, just maybe, juice cleansing was a hype from 2006-2016, and now people just have one juice once a while and are onto another fad, like Keto or Paleo?

Related: Why no one does juice cleanses anymore

Organic Avenue used to offer their juices in glass bottles, but they were more expensive as there was a fee for returning the bottles. Now they serve the juices in BPA- free plastic, I thought that was a nice thing! Of course with the demise of Organic Avenue, their bottles are gone too. (I just kept one as a souvenir).

If you want to do a cleanse, there are many places in New York City and beyond to get a juice from, including Juice Press, Pressed Juicery ,Blueprint and Juice Generation

Related: 5 cleanses that get delivered to your door in the USA

p.s. for my readers in the Netherlands: you can order from Sapmeesters.

Final thought on cleanses: You should decide yourself what works for you! I will now enjoy a small juice once a while!

Love, Lonneke

First Published on May 6th 2012, Updated with new insights in 2019

 


5 tips to Consume Less & Live More

When you look around, you probably see ads everywhere. Whether on the street, or on your computer, TV and phone, you are constantly triggered to look at advertising that wants to push you to buy this and that product. For instance, makeup. The time when all you needed was a simple black mascara and some lip gloss is over according to a lot of makeup brands. They now have eyebrow gel, shine for your eyes, cheek blush, lip liner and more and more. This is in every color, and of course you should really get each one of them. If you have enough money, you can buy it all. But most of us are living on a budget, and buying everything is simply not an option. So how to decide what you really need, and only buy what you need, in a way so you don’t miss a thing, always look great, have no worries, and are definitely not in debt?

quote by Organice Your Life Consume Less Live MoreA simple formula for a great life: Consume Less - Live More

“Consume Less, Live More” is the quote I live by and share with people. We consume too much in our society, and most of it is not essential for survival in life. Let me explain what I mean. Shopping can take over your life. There are even people with shopping addictions, which is not so weird if you think of the constant soliciting from companies. With all these commercials saying you can’t live without their product, and people telling you to do more, more, more, it is sometimes hard to distinguish what you really need, and what you really want. Let’s figure out how to deal with it—it is really a psychological thing. So you can easily change your life by changing your mindset. Here are my five thoughts on this:

1. You don’t need all that

First of all, know that you don’t need much to live. Most of your purchases and daily actions are about wanting more. What you really need each day is good health, water to drink, food to eat and a place to sleep at night. In essence, you don’t need much more. That cute dress you saw on sale is not really a basic necessity, even though you feel like it is at the moment of purchase. That big apartment you want to buy, even your big career. You don’t really need it. You want it. So what is an easy way to financial freedom? Not wanting to have it all, because wanting things comes with a price, whether via a purchase, loan or debt. Or it comes with a physical and/or mental price. Is it worth it?

2. Know your financial situation

You can’t go shopping and plan purchases if you don’t take a long, hard, honest look at your bank account. And this means taking all your debt into consideration. And no, credit card maximum limits are not part of your budget. Even though it feels like free money, in the end you are paying for it, and mostly with interest added onto it. Only buy things you can pay for right away, or absolutely need to live. Even if it looks like a great deal, and you can pay in terms, in the end you have paid much more than if you had bought it right away for the full price. There will always be that next sale, and that great outfit, or other amazing product for you to buy. You are not missing out on anything if you can’t buy it right now. It actually can give you a goal to save money for something that you really want. And in the meantime while saving you can rethink if you really need it. And maybe you don’t want to have it all anymore once you can actually pay it. That’s why I love something I call “pre-shopping.” I go shopping one day and look at everything. Then I go to sleep at night and think it over. The next day I go back to the things I couldn’t stop thinking about and buy them. This way I rarely have to return something. And it protects me from buying things I don’t need.

3. Break the curse of owning stuff which can enslave you

Owning too many things can also make you a slave to your stuff, because all the things you own need time to upkeep. The bigger your apartment is, the more there is to clean. It is also likely more expensive to live in each month. And if you have too much stuff, you need to probably rent storage space. Besides that, if you own expensive things, you worry that they might get damaged, or that you will lose them, or that someone steals them. And insuring things costs a lot of money. So owning something costs money just owning it. Also, think about how much time it costs you every week or so to clean out your closet. If you have less stuff in it, you save a lot of time.

4. Minimize shopping as it can be an addiction

Shopping gives you a rush each time you go. It is the same feeling of when you fall in love, or meet your celebrity crush. Your heart beats faster. But this feeling can also come to you in other situations that cost less money. Helping out at a shelter, for instance. Donating unwanted clothes to someone who really loves or needs them also gives you a feeling of happiness. If you find other ways to get that same happy feeling, ones that are free, it will help you realize you don’t need to go shopping at all. And I am sure most girls can go shopping in their own closet and they will find a few items they’ve never worn. You can wear them or resell them so you have money to buy other things! And if you really want to go shopping, make sure you buy goods of the best quality that’ll last a lifetime and are always in fashion. They will usually be a bit more expensive, but will save you money in the long run, and they will always look great. Consume less but buy more quality. Also, make it a challenge to find recycled objects. Like vintage fashion, or go to a thrift shop to find a gem for not much money. It is very hip right now to go thrift shopping and vintage hunting. You will find amazing items that you can’t believe you can buy for prices as low as 99 cents. Even Macklemore loves it. (p.s. one of my favorite happy songs!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

5. Realize that Society makes you want more, more, more!

We are taught that the bigger job, car, home, and more expensive clothes and handbags you have, the better your life is. The governments and banks around the world have made it very easy to borrow money and get major loans. Student loan, home loan, car loan, all made possible for you to get even more. Even if you can’t really pay for it. But do you really in essence want all that, considering the risks and responsibility to pay it back that it comes with? Do you really need that bigger car, or that amazing handbag, only to show off to the neighbor or your friends? What are your real dreams and goals in life, where is your heart, really? Funny thing is that for a lot of people what they want most in life are priceless things, like being healthy, having a lot of free time, being with the ones they love, and doing something that they are passionate about. Being worry-free and debt-free. But you can’t have any of that if you constantly buy things you don’t need. To me it comes across as a bit weird. Why do people work so hard then, and not see their family much, and not have much free time to do things they like to do? Just because they want that career and to make that much money? Because that’s what people do, and what other people expect them to do. Because the bigger career and success in life, the more money people seem to make, and that is considered better. Money that they need to pay the bills of the things they buy when they make more money, but which they wouldn’t buy if they made less money. It is a vicious cycle.If you realize you need less and have enough already, you are more likely to be happy with what you have right now. You probably have more time for yourself than you realize. And you are more likely to live in the moment and enjoy it fully, and do things in your daily routine that are more emotionally fulfilling. Needing and wanting less gives you less debt and fewer worries. So if you can make your mind realize that you don’t need all that, you can save yourself a lot of stress, time and money!

Love, Lonneke

The article is protected by copyright by Lonneke Engel and was first published on Youbeauty,  the website of dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen:

YOUBEAUTY - LONNEKE ENGEL - A SIMPLE FORMULA FOR A GREAT LIFE: CONSUME LESS- LIVE MORE

 

 

Consume less live more


5 tips for a Green World

Most people want a Green World. But how do we achieve that goal?

I recently came across this quote by Carl Sagan on the Stop Fracking Instagram account that made me stop and think. I searched for more and discovered that this man, who brought the cosmic universe in understandable language to us, gave us inspirational things to think about and maybe even make a change.

A Better World

We all notice something is in need of a thorough inspection and update in our World today. The idea of making money, a career, to have a house (with a mortgage) and a car (with a loan), fame ( & power) and buying, consuming & owning expensive "things" is just not that satisfying for most of us anymore. And we see a LOT of problems unfolding in front of our eyes.

What is going on these days? What are the issues of our generation? Why are people worried and upset?

People see that the energy supplies are drying up and we need a new way of energy. People feel they can't trust anymore what they eat. Our food system is being endangered because some big corporations are trying to change DNA structures of plants (GMO). Nature is being demolished for industries worldwide. There are worries about the Climate Change and if the air you breathe is still good enough and the water you drink from the tap is not contaminated in the future. People worry about possible nuclear bombs and terrorism. Species become extinct, people are being suppressed in countries. (Gay) people are being bullied and attacked. Even pets are legally seen as a material object, a "thing" not a living being and part of your family.

The World sometimes feels like it is messed up

And we all feel this, one way or another. Everyone wants to change something. People want less stress, less responsibilities, more time to spend with loved ones,  more happiness, greener nature, less abuse, less violence, more Peace between people and the Earth. But most people wait until others to take the lead... But why wait? All issues going on in society are influencing us all, if we want it or not. We can sit by and wait and see, or have an active attitude.

Like the quote says:

without clean air and water all our dreams and ideas for the future cannot become reality.

And if we don't speak up what we want ourselves, no one will, and money will continuously rule our World.

But it all feels like too. big. of. an. issue. to. deal. with. and. to. fix.

Where to begin? I hear you asking.

It all starts with our excessive consumption pattern of this moment. That. needs. to change. No way out.

How to start living a better, more sustainable and fulfilling life for a Green World,  without coming across as a drastic activist?

Answer: One step at a time. Here are 5 tips for a Green World Inspiration:

1.  Information is Powerful

Read and learn about things before consuming something or buying something. I read everyday all day and listen to inspirational people, experts in their field, to learn about their findings. And if you made mistakes in the past, and people are continuously pointing out all the things you do or did wrong: focus on what you do right at this moment. People will always try to find something to bring you and your good intentions down. You can start any moment to live a better and a more green life to work together with millions of others to create a Green World! (Good news huh?!) I made mistakes too, and sometimes worked with companies that are not doing so well on the ethical or sustainable level. But the money I made I now put where my mouth is. Know that every day is a new day to change your lifestyle.

2. Each time you buy something, you vote with your purchase

You can either sustain or change a situation using your power of spending. When everyone stops buying products that don't have a good ethical side to it, producers will change to fit the customers needs. It is that easy. So next time you buy something. THINK about what you are buying. And choose good stuff! For instance, if you buy cheap clothing or fast food, you are likely to vote for underpaid unethical (child) labor, depleting nature from essential minerals, contaminating drinking water and bad living conditions for animals as well as voting for a bad health of yourself, to name a few gigantic problems our World faces these days. Cheap means, the money savings have to come somewhere. So you might have a fashionable shirt you wear probably only a few times. And then throw out (creating enormous waste). Or eating a cheap meal.  The impact on yourself and the planet is so devastating you probably would think twice to purchase it if you saw all of these problems that come with that purchase unfold at once in front of your own eyes. The amount of chemicals and genetically manipulated ingredients used in the production of cheap food like products and fashion is alarming. And it is in almost all the stuff you have at home probably, unless you live under a rock. So it affects ALL OF US. Choose wisely for a Green World.

3. Think long-term, not short-term

Some people think about the short-term cost of things, in other words: what does it cost today? While I always think long-term because that is the best for a Green World. If I am healthy and stay healthy for a long time, I need less doctors for disease, less medication, and that way I save a lot of money! I believe that investing in health, by going to doctors to manage my health ,and by buying good products in the beginning will save money in the end compared to people always buying cheap food and cheap products. Cheap food gets you sick, cheap products don't last long, are unethically made, and need to be replaced all the time.  Think about your karma, your conscience.. Can you live with the situation you sustain by buying that product? Your choice if you want to save money now, or your money, your health and your karma in the end. Don't you want the best for your kids? Think about every aspect of their lives. What do you feed them, what do you make them wear, where do you let them play...what quality is the air their young developing lungs breath... each thing, each action is of an incredible importance to the rest of their lives. Be aware, be conscious. Are you protecting their future? Are you fighting for clean soil and organic food, clean air & water? Or do you just sit by and watch the big corporations & government ruining it all just for the Sake of profits? For our children and their future: you can't stay in silence, speak up and demand better & healthier products, protection of people, animals & nature and safety all along. There is enough of everything for everyone and for our future, but we are all using it up now. Pretty selfish don't you think?It is a fact that buying cheap stuff will only give you short-term happiness when purchased. And it might give you a good feeling for a moment: the ones involved in making it are not happy at all. Let's be honest here: a 1 dollar meal or 5 dollar shirt sounds like a bargain, but HOW in the world can that 1 dollar product be made with respecting people, animals & nature? Answer: no way. And the bad ingredients in cheap processed foods can help you get serious diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity to name a few. The toxins used in producing cheap fashion can cause lung & skin problems and the amount of waste created this way... forgetaboutit. If you knew that junk food, soda drinks, buying toxic clothing, shoes and other products would be harmful to your health and that of your family in the long run, would you think twice about buying the cheap, unhealthier version?

4. Think quality, not quantity

While a deal of 2 or more for the price of one sounds like a great deal, it usually only comes for products that aren't really healthy or well made, and actually could be harmful to your health. While our society has the idea that "We want MORE" is the way to go, and buying lots and lots of things and owning lots and lots of things are the best for you, I believe in Less is More. Also, knowing where your products come from gives a certain extra value to the purchase, besides knowing you help a local producer and the safety of knowing who made it. That is true quality. I keep downgrading my life daily, so I can enjoy my life more without the continuous bills coming my way and the worries that come with it. So I don't have to work to keep up with the bills, and don't need that much time keeping up, and organizing my belongings. So I have more time to spend with who I love, doing what I love. It's an enlightened feeling if you can say: I don't need all that. Our family doesn't need all that. I am perfectly happy with the stuff I already have

5. Be creative

Companies have tried to make us all look the same: "We give you a lot of the same looking products and you all buy it from us, and you don't know where it is made, from what it is made and who made it". It is the easiest and cheapest for companies to produce this way. And the more you buy, the more money they make, which will only benefit a very small group of people. Also, these clothes have usually a bad carbon footprint (Think made fare away like "Made s in "INSERT SOMEWHERE IN ASIA") and create a terrible amount of waste. Just saying. Back to the "Be creative" part. I hate the idea of wearing an outfit and someone else walks by in the exact same shirt from a chain store. So I try to stay as far away. I absolutely LOVE my vintage shopping, the hunt for that one-of-a-kind piece, and buying from unique designers and local craftsmen. Less carbon footprint: a happier World. Also for furniture the same. Commodity is no fun.  Be original. Exchange products with your friends (and save money too), let people see who you truly are, choose things that are original, that are YOU. And u know what? People will recognize and praise you for your courage and your great eye and originality! Because most don't have that much originality unfortunately, but they will see it when it is in front of their own eyes. Bonus: being original and recycling products like vintage and antique is usually cheaper to purchase, create almost no waste. The clothes actually are recycled in the economy as well so worth more economically per garment (if that makes sense). It takes creativity, and we lost it somehow the past decades when industrialization and mass production came into our lives, but we can get it back!

The World is not lost yet, it can still be a Green World

We have been taught that our voice does not make a difference by the people who run the world in the Old Economy. It is quite the contrary. If you feel like you want to make a change, you can totally do that as every little bit counts.   Because all those little bits together become a big chunk. And people will notice. Companies will notice and will make a chance. Just focus, everyone has their own favorite issue they want to change. And yes, you might experience a bit of a struggle in the beginning, but easy things are no fun. Success is only satisfying when it takes effort to get to that point.

I encourage you to start changing your consuming pattern for the better. "New" isn't always better," cheap" is usually not right. If you only become more conscious about your actions, and the things you buy each day with the hard-earned money you made, we are half way there. Don't believe all advertising, some are misleading. Trust me I know. The way you consume things and leave your footprint on this Earth matters. Every positive little (green) change helps to change this society for the better. And people lead by example.

Open your mind, explore, learn, send out your message and connect with people who believe in a Green World.

And foremost: Put your money where your mouth is if you believe in a Green World. Buy from true organic & green companies, local farmers & craftsmen and buy GMO free produce.

The World is not lost yet. There are a lot of people still focusing on the money aspect of things (so last Century) But even the most corrupt and money loving people and corporations have a heart... somewhere. They just lost the right path a few decades ago, and can't seem to find it anymore. They only go for the short term profit; they lost the touch with the people who work for them, the animals and products they work with and the environment they work in. But with our efforts and little changes to a greener life we will push them to find the right path again!

Together we stand, all that is important is us, our children and our future.

Love, Lonneke

Founder Organice Your Life®

Carl Sagan quote 2


5 truths about losing weight

A LOT of people want to lose weight or stay in shape, because in modern society it is considered beautiful to be thin. I don't necessarily agree. I think there are many different body types in the World, and only a HEALTHY body is pretty to me.

My 5 "secret" tips to stay in shape or for losing weight:

1. Eat Wholesome, Fresh, preferably Organic Foods

Cook yourself so you know what goes into your mouth. Avoid as many additives and prepackaged food products as possible. Check Organice Your Life Recipes for yummy recipes!

READ MORE: organic vs. non-organic fruits and vegetables

2. Do not go on a Diet, but make a Lifestyle Change

Eat 2 or 3 good meals a day! It is a myth that not eating helps you lose weight. It might help a little bit in the beginning as your intestines are empty. But the moment you do eat, your body is so eager to hold on to the nutritious elements as your body is afraid you are not going to eat again and not have enough energy at some point.  If you go on a diet you are deregulating your natural body rhythm of eating, digesting, absorbing essential vitamins and getting rid of the "waste" in the end. This is hurting the health of your body. Therefore it is important that when you decide you want to lose a few pounds, you keep eating regularly but change your eating habits to only eating the right healthy foods for you (these are different for each person so you have to find out what foods work best for you). Losing weight costs energy and you need to get that right energy from eating food. Again: NOT EATING DOES NOT MAKE YOU LOSE WEIGHT OR KEEP THE WEIGHT OF IN THE END. PERIOD.

3. Drink enough Water

When you want to release excess toxins out of your body, drinking water helps to do this faster. People are recommended to drink at list 1.5 liters of water a day, or more, but make sure you don't drink too much (drinking too much water has minerals move out of the body without replenishing them, and this is very dangerous and life threatening even believe it or not. Some minerals your body can't do without). The best is to test the water you are drinking, and check for the amount of minerals in that water. The more good minerals are left in your drinking water, the better. We are looking for water with at least  140 micrograms of residue. More is better.

READ MORE: Why you need to drink enough water each day.

4. Be Happy & Do Not Stress

It is said that stress makes you gain weight. Or even worse: make you crave bad foods! So do enough fun things and delete the stress factors out of your life. Make sure your bills are paid, you don't forget appointments, make your house a happy place, have memorable moments with loved ones, and take enough time a day to enjoy your life and relax: sleep, meditate and do fun things!

READ MORE: Mind over Body, the cortisol effect. (about stress & gaining weight because of it) >

5.  Move Your Body

Maybe this is the most important one. The places in the World where people are considered to live the longest, and also the healthiest in a recent study - the so-called "Blue Zones" - all have something in common: they people there are constantly in motion. They collect food, cook, care for their family and keep working until a very old age. Pension? no way! They keep moving their body.  But not in a drastic way. Doing hardcore fitness are not always the right way to go. Energizing, calming movements like Yoga and Pilates can work too. At least we all agree that sitting behind a desk or something each day is just not what humankind was made for. We need to move. So the more you are busy during the day running around (maybe after your kids?), doing house choirs, working in the garden or working out, the better!

Enjoy and remember: love your body. Maybe that is the best way to get to the perfect shape you want. You are beautiful when you are healthy, just Organice your life!

Love, Lonneke


A Dog is Part of the Family

I love dogs. My dog is always part of my family!

Dogs can heal you

The relationship I have with my dog is one of the strongest relationships I have in my life, as that relationship is one of the reasons I am now back to being a contributing member of society after I suffered from a burnout, PTSD and an autoimmune disease.

As a Certified Health Counselor I was helping other people live their best life, but I had to stop working for Organice Your Life for a few years, as I suddenly had to focus on my own health. I got a dog and started my process back to health. Not knowing it would take me a few years. But my dog is the reason I am back :)

My life with dogs

When my dog Vito passed away a few years ago, I was devastated for months on end and it set me back again for a while. It only got better when I ended up adopting Bane. Both dogs we found in a shelter, both did not have the best past and present, but their future was going to be for sure very great! I went to the shelter a few times to meet different dogs, to see which one fit best with me and my life. Then Vito turned out to be the best fit. Later in life when Vito had passed, I found Bane. It was meant to be. I have a special place in my heart for the dogs that are the most difficult to adopt, and I don't mind a challenge. It feels great when you can prove to everybody that the dog that everybody passed on, is now this awesome dog living a wonderful life!

Any dog - no matter how bad their situation is - can become a GREAT dog in a balanced, stable and loving environment. Do not give up on any dog!

My dog Bane
My dog Bane

A dog is part of the family

My dog is a valued family member in our home, and I take his wellbeing in consideration every single day. Taking care of my dog takes a lot of time, but what I get back is unconditional love, and a household in harmony. It takes a lot of work, but it is worth it! We are a team and wherever I go, Bane goes. He is very respectful of our home, but can sit and sleep anywhere he wants to. We have a special understanding between us, which I cherish as I invested so much time and attention into him to get us to where we are now.

A dog needs a lot of care and attention

What I don't get is that so many people get a dog, and just think that they don't have to put much time and effort into it, because hey, it is "Just a dog". Why don't they just get a stuffed animal I wonder? A dog has a soul and feelings. They crave love, understanding, attention and cuddles.

To me it seems to be just about as much work to do it right, as taking care of a child. I mean, you need to feed them, give them regular exercise (at least 1.5 hours a day but I take him everywhere and we walk sometimes 4, 5 hours a day). You need to take them to the vet regularly, you need to watch them all the time just like you have to look after a young child. (Adult dogs apparently have the mental capacity of a 2.5 year old.) All together it is full on work and a lot of responsibility! Not only for the dog, but also for your family and society, as you have to make sure all stay safe all the time.

Adopt a shelter dog

Some people don't do a lot of research and want a purebred puppy just because they like the look of it. And puppies are sooo cute of course! They then pay a lot of money to get a purebred puppy somewhere. But I will tell you the truth about dogs: The shelters are overcrowded with every type of dog - mixes AND purebreds - so it makes no sense to get a puppy. Because when you get a puppy, ANY PUPPY, one dog in the shelter gets killed. Yearly about 2.4 million dogs get killed in shelters across the USA.... I wrote about it before. Many times it turns out that the puppy people bought was not a good match, because it grew up and is not as cute anymore, or it needs much more attention and exercise than they are willing to give, and so that dog ends up in a shelter. Be smart and get a rescue dog with the help of a reputable rescue organization! There is one close to you! And it is much cheaper than getting a purebred as well!

Check out my other articles on helping shelter dogs:

5 reasons to adopt a shelter dog

10 ways to help a dog in need

Good People help dogs in need

Luckily there are many people who go above and beyond to help dogs in need. I salute every one of them, because it is a very difficult task, and it breaks your heart all the time when you see the suffering many dogs have to go through.

Quotes that I love:

"Saving one dog will not change the World, but surely for that dog the World will change Forever"Unknown

And:

"People who say money can't bring happiness, have probably never paid an adoption fee"Unknown

So true!

I love my dog Bane

My rescue dog Bane is with me now for 2 years. It amazes me how he still improves and gets better every day, after all that he has been through in his young life! I can still teach him new things, even though he already probably knows more than 99% of dogs in the World! I still can't believe that he was one of those millions of dogs that end up in the shelter yearly, and he was almost one of the 2.4 million dogs that are killed at shelters each year! Luckily he got rescued in the nick of time by Animal Haven in NYC, the place where he stayed for 10 months until we found each other.. and the rest is history!

I will share more stories about Bane, Vito and how I care and work with my dog each day, and you can follow him as well on his own instagram page Everybody Loves Bane!

And never forget:

Love, Lonneke

first published in 2018, updated in 2019

 


water drop

Water filtration at Home

Humans consist mostly of water. That's why we need to make sure we drink enough water during the day. Do you every think about your water supply? I do!

Tap water

Clean tap water is essential for everyone on the World. Your hygiene depends on it. Unfortunately not many people are so fortunate, but I am happy so many good causes are doing their best to bring healthy and clean drinking water to people in need. One of them is Charity: Water.

RELATED: 7 Water charities you should know

Many places in the World do have tap water at home. The quality differs depending on where you live. Even places where the water is considered safe to drink and to shower with, can still have toxic elements in it.Water is usually clear and certain toxic elements you can not smell, see or taste. So it is smart to filter it, but that also means essential minerals are taken out. It is important you supplement these.

READ MORE: More info on why you need to drink enough water.

Bottled water

You can drink water from bottles, but then you have to worry about BPA (Bisphenol A) a hormone disruptive chemical that is found in different kinds of plastics. Also, you have to worry about the quality of water. While mineral water from bottles have essential minerals, it is also found that many brands have tiny microplastics in the water. Yes, big chance you are drinking tiny amounts of microplastic!

READ MORE: Plastic found in 10 major brands bottled water

READ MORE: What drinking plastic does to your body

Eliminating plastic

Most brands offer their water in plastic bottles as it is easier, and you can throw it away after. But this ads to the enormous plastic soup we have in the World! There are ways to lower your plastic waste:

  • Use reusable bottles and fill them up with water
  • Buy glass water bottles instead of plastic water bottles.
  • Some companies offer them in glas bottles. I feel drinking water from glass bottled water is better, and I have been ordering glass bottles for use at home for years. Even my dog is so spoiled he usually drinks mineral water!

RELATED: Top Model Mallory uses her recyclable bottle with filtration system all the time

home water filtration system

Right now, I am looking into ways to filter tap water at home as well. Not only to use for cooking, but also to add to my shower head so my hair will stay shinier longer (hard water has a lot of minerals like calcium, lime and magnesium can make your hair dull) and to avoid heavy metals and other potential toxic stuff. I will update this article when I found the right filtration system. There are even systems that alter the energy level of the water, or make it alkaline. So much to learn!

Basically, living well to me means every day doing everything in your power to lower your exposure to toxic substances in the air, food and water. Unfortunately it is all around us, but we can flush it out with good quality water!

Love, Lonneke

p.s. Find me on instagram, Twitter or Facebook!


organic home cooked dog food

In the beginning of 2013 we adopted a senior shelter dog, a bullterrier named Vito. Little did we know back then that he would turn out to become a local celebrity in New York City. He had his own popular Instagram page on which I shared his life with followers. He even had a page article in the New York Post! I was working on a book about his life but when he passed I couldn't get myself to finish it, it was too hard.  I had cared a lot about Vito, he was in my life for 3 of the hardest years of my life. I felt it was my responsibility to make sure he would get the best care and love possible! I would like to share with you a bit about what organic home cooked dog food I fed him.

Vito the Dog and Lonneke Engel in the New York Post
Vito the Dog and Lonneke Engel in the New York Post

What is in your dog's food

As most humans like to eat healthy food, it is also good to look at what you feed your dog. Have you ever looked at the ingredient lists on the dog food labels? Well, if you want to get a grip on your dog's diet, I recommend that is the first thing you should do. get familiar with the foods you give your dog, and its ingredients. Ask yourself what they are, and find out by online searching if it is good for your dog. Curiosity is always the first step.
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So many options for dog food

Just like with human food, in the dog world there are many options and opinions on dog food. Some dog food brands are healthier than others. Some swear by giving a raw food diet to their dog, others only give dry food, and others only cook for their dog. It depends on each dog individually what is good and what is not, and it is always wise to discuss this with your veterinarian at your next checkup. Basically it is also trial and error you find out what diet is best for your dog.

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Vito in the Shelter before we adopted him.

The story of Vito the Dog

When we got Vito, he was a bit overweight. He weighed in at over 70 pounds. I switched him immediately from regular dry food to organic dry food. In the USA I gave him the grain free dry food by Organix . We also gave him a can of wet food once a while he really enjoyed. I even tried at one point frozen raw meat that you thaw first before you feed it to your dog, but Vito became an "espresso machine" as my husband calls it politely. So we found out after trying a few times, that raw/frozen food was not so good for him, he was too sensitive to it. And my research continued. Vito turned out to become an espresso machine when he ate something bad, or when things were raw. Since he is a bullterrier and that breed is known for eating everything that they find along the way, it was hard to make sure he would only eat what we fed him.

Vito's feeding schedule

After our trial and error period with Vito, we discovered what diet worked best for him. As we work from home, Vito was always with us. So we started to give him food spread over a day,  instead of giving him once a day a lot of food. When he wakes up, he would get a bit of dry food, because otherwise he gets acid reflux during a walk. Then throughout the day we would give him food after exercise, like after a brisk walk. Basically when we would eat, Vito would get food too. He knew that he can expect food after we have eaten, so he always waits without a fuzz, and never begged for food. He ate the food we would give him when he wanted to, sometimes leaving a bit for later. At the end of the day he ate just as much food as he would have if we fed him once, but now it was spread over the day, which we thought is better for his digestion. and it gave him something to do all day. This has made him to be a wonderful well-behaved dog as well, who knew what to expect. He never chewed on or broke things. His days were all about sleep, walks, playtime and food, and he was in excellent shape (until he got sick because of a vaccination, which is a different story).

Vito and his bullterrier puppy friend Darwyn
Vito and his bullterrier puppy friend Darwyn, November 2015

During the time of getting to know Vito we would feed him only organic and simple snacks once a while: He enjoyed raw carrots, bananas, apple parts, melon parts, cooked eggs.

Home cooked dog food

After a while I was convinced I wanted to try to cook for him. But where to start? What is good for a dog, and in what ratio do I give it to him? My first step was to search online and see what are good foods for my dog. In the beginning I only dared to cook organic chicken and rice for him, as they vet always advises that when a dog has an upset stomach. In the beginning I would only give it once a week, but later on I started incorporating more foods to his diet and gave it to him more regularly. Vito was over the Moon when he smelled the food I was cooking, and would sit next to me in the kitchen.

This article on whole-dog-journal.com I used to decide what I wanted to cook for my dog

Vito the Dog in the kitchen waiting for his food
Vito the Dog in the kitchen waiting for his food

Home cooked dog food options

Foods I now use in cooking are: organic chicken incl. skin, organic chicken livers and hearts (organ meat not more than 5% of total food I give him), organic rice, organic sweet potato, organic squash, organic carrots, organic broccoli, organic string beans, organic coconut oil. I noticed if I cook low-fat for Vito, he doesn't have enough energy. So I add a bit of chicken fat that comes from boiling a whole chicken, and coconut oil. Also, when the veggies and carbs are cooked, Vito digests them well, compared to raw vegetables that come out the same way they went in.

I mix all of these cooked ingredients together in different combos, and it became like 40% of Vito's daily diet. In a cooked meal Vito ate about 75% animal protein, and 25% cooked rice and veggies. Again, there are many opinions on what diet is good for your dog, and what ratio is good, but we discovered this worked for us. He would still get dry food, but of course less than before. This way I knew he would get all the nutrients he needs, while I perfect my home cooked dog food cooking skills. I know that if I feed him only home cooked food, I need to add a supplement into the mix to get the right calcium - phosphorous ratio in his meals. I still need to learn more about a balanced diet before I can transition fully to a home cooked dog food meal. but the first steps are made!

Vito the Dog and his food
Vito is looking forward to his dinner tonight!

My husband was in charge of the vitamins we gave to Vito. Since he was older, he would get a daily mix of vitamins that were customized to his needs. To support his joints, kidneys, immune system and overall health. People are amazed when they saw how good he looked!

Vito is regularly checked by a vet, and his bloodwork has come back better than before. He is now on a healthy weight of 65 pounds, and still very active. which is good for an almost 13 year bullterrier.

Be a responsible dog owner

What I want to say to you is that, as a responsible owner you need to research what food works for your dog. Some things I said may be great for your dog, and some things are not so great. Every dog is different, and different times and events force you to make changes to the diet. Again, check with your veterinarian what diet and supplements are best for your beloved dog. But your dog will love you for it!

LOVE, LONNEKE (& Vito)

UPDATE: Vito died after a short illness (after receiving a vaccination) on March 10th 2016. He enjoyed a wonderful life with us and we will never forget him!

Lonneke Engel & Vito the Dog

 

First published on November 10th 2015, updated in 2020