My Chili Con Carne

We eat this Chili Con Carne recipe now at least once a week, because it is warming and filling. It is easy, nutritious and delicious, and it can't go wrong!

Youtube Live Chat

During one of my live chats on Youtube, My husband Dirk asked me what I was going to cook after the show, and I said: "Chili!". We eat this at least once a week in the Winter,  because it is so simple and delicious. So after the 2 hours speaking to our audience I ended the live stream and went on to cook dinner!

Cooling pack

The funny thing is that Dirk needs a cooling pack every time we go live to cool the computer, but this time he couldn't find a pack. instead he used a bag of frozen peas and carrots. Organic of course! I don't like to waste food so I used it in my chili con carne!

Meat or no meat?

Since I eat meat again I enjoy these simple recipes. But you can also make it with a ground beef substitute and it is just as delicious! it is all about the herbs and quality ingredients. I buy my vegetables at a local organic grocer, and my meat at a local butcher who gets his animals from 1 small farm that is focused on biodiversity and grass-fed meat.

Premix spices are great

Instead of using separate spices, I like this mix of Non-GMO verified spices by Frontier Co-op "Mexican Fiesta Seasoning".

Side dishes

Also great to accompany this dish is avocado, add chopped lettuce for an extra crunch, put it in a burrito, or eat it with a side of corn on the cob!

Cancel Cancel Culture

Since there is a cancel culture movement of people who will cancel someone just because they don't like that person's opinion, I started a countermovement called "Cancel Cancel Culture".

I even made my own merchandise with my own design 'cancel cancel culture' on it!

Shop my 'cancel cancel culture' merchandise or click on the mug below for the mug.

Cancel Cancel Culture White T-Shirt Front

READ MORE: How to deal with Cancel Culture


Because the company Goya was being targeted by the cancel culture, I bought a bunch of products and started cooking with it. It turned out I really like the Adobo seasoning. It is great after you served the chili con carne to add a bit of extra flavor.


Love, Lonneke

My Chili Con Carne
A delicious, easy and nutritious recipe with beans, minced meat and veggies

Cuisine: Mexican
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

  • 1 pound ground beef (or vegan meat substitute)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jar with tomato paste
  • 2 cans of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt
  • paprika
  • chili pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • onion powder
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • 1 glass of water

  1. stir fry the garlic in oil
  2. add the onion and stir until golden brown
  3. add ground beef en stir until it disperses into small bits all over and it is browned
  4. Add the bell pepper
  5. add the spices to your liking (start slow especially with peppers and cumin, add a bit more and taste along the way)
  6. add the tomato paste and a bit of water and stir
  7. add the rinsed beans and stir
  8. turn heat low and let simmer with lid on for 20 minutes
  9. Serve and add cilantro, chopped lettuce and sour cream to your liking

optional to add:
Different veggies like peas and carrots
You can use other beans like chick peas as well.

optional to garnish:
handful of fresh cilantro
handful of chopped romaine or iceberg lettuce
sour cream


How to deal with Cancel Culture

A few years ago I fell ill with a burnout/PTSD and suddenly had time on my hands to rethink everything in my life. So I did. My eyes opened to reality and I could not stay silent anymore, so I didn't. I started following my own path, with, as well as transitioning into a complete new life. My newly found voice as a "free thinker" came with some resistance, and I also had an encounter with "cancel culture".

Cancel culture

What is that, that "cancel culture" you might ask? Well I made a whole video about it, and how I deal with it. I encourage you to watch it.

Cancel culture is a movement that attacks a person or business, their families, friends, social & professional relationships with the goal to hurt that person's/business' social and/or professional life, hurt them financially and harass them publicly, just because they do not like what that person/business stands for, or what he/she has said. It is a type of censorship encouraging people to join in the activities, the so-called 'mob', to go after people, with the aim to completely 'cancel' that person or company. I used the example of Goya in the video, you can read more about it here:

READ MORE: The story of Boycott Goya

Cancel cancel culture

Even though I am a positive person, and always weigh my words carefully (because words matter) I decided that I was going to make sure nobody could ever threaten me by taking away my job or good name. Here are some tips that helped me a lot:

  • Become an independent and strong thinker. Do your research. Make sure you work on your mental stability to withstand the negativity that will come your way if you do not follow the mainstream. Being an outsider can be lonely, but it can also make you stronger and give you Peace and focus on the important things in life.
  • Think before you talk or act. Realize what the result can be and prepare accordingly.
  • Research the latest tactics of the cancel culture mob. It changes a bit periodically, so it is important to stay up to date of their behavior.
  • Become financially independent, and/or make sure your employer is supportive of you, so the impact of the mob going after your job and livelyhood is minimized.
  • Always be cordial, nice and do not engage in the cancel culture's mob way of communicating.
  • Be calm, but don't be complacent. Be vigilant and prepared.
  • Stay positive!

I hope you will do just fine with these tips.

Stay strong, and never bow to cancel culture!

Love, Lonneke

The Power of Bone Broth

Everytime Fall arrives I can't wait to eat lots of stews, soups and broths! 

Warming up inside

One thing that I discovered is making me feel good and warm inside, is a warm broth especially a bone broth. Yes, you can also drink vegetable broths, and I do love them too. But decades ago bone broths were very normal to drink, they were all over the place and made people feel better. The past few years in NYC, I noticed that bone broth has definitely made a come back! While vegan food was the hype these past years, some vegan and organic businesses have gone out of business since. (think my favorites Organic Avenue, Gusto Organics and Souen) The new kid on the block is bone broth, and more bone broth places are opening up. (like Brodo.)

What is bone broth

Bone broth is made of leftover bones and tissue of animals, like chicken, cows and meat. Some broths are more thin because they are made of only the meat, others are called bone broths and they are thicker due to the gelatin of the bones. A good butcher will use everything "nose-to-tail " of an animal and the leftover bones will go into a big stock pot with water and maybe other ingredients like herbs and vegetables that help the bones release their powerful marrow, gelatine, amino acids and minerals.

Broth can also be made vegan with mushrooms, seaweed or vegetables.

When do I drink bone broth

I like to use bone broth in cooking stews and soups following the AIP diet (Autoimmune Protocol Diet) which I try to follow as many days of the week. But I also like to just drink bone broth on its own. Where other people order a $12 cocktail, I like to order a $12 bone broth like I did the other day at lunch at Cafe Clover in NYC.  Their bone broth has the following ingredients: grass fed beef broth chaga mycelium, wild kombu, daikon radish, ginseng. Delicious!

READ MORE: Make your own bone broth

Eating meat again

I started eating meat again recently because it made me feel better. It was a choice between my values and my health. It was a hard decision but I do not regret it. I still love vegan food and vegetables a lot. I actually am now more excited to eat local, with a small footprint using everything while honoring the animal. True food from a farm instead of from a factory.

100% grassfed

I learned that 100% grassfed beef and bone broth is the best as grass is the only food a cow should really eat! make sure the beef is pasture raised, 100% grassfed and grass finished. Luckily there are nice butchers in NYC that offer these options, whether they offer it at the local farmers market, or they have an actual store. I like to go to Hudson & Charles They also make great bone broths and organic chicken soup. If you eat meat, you need to find the best meat out there, of people who humanely raise their animals. You will also taste it.


Recently I have been thinking more and more that supporting small, local and sustainable businesses and families that care for the planet and who do not have a lot of waste are maybe the best way to tackle animal cruelty, erosion of lands, economic problems and social issues. if we all eat like our grandparents did, from local sources, we create less carbon emissions that come with the transport of avocados from Mexico or shrimp from Thailand. Also, while a lot of people who eat vegan rely on colorful vegetables from all over the World, and vegan products that are made in a factory, maybe just going to a local butcher and eating foods with only 1 or a few ingredients that are not processed is maybe the way to go? What about a circular economy of animals that replenish the earth with essential minerals?... what about using all parts of an animal, and not letting anything go to waste? Don't get me wrong: I LOVE vegan food, but I also learned that I feel better eating a diet like the one I grew up with (Will elaborate more in another article.)

Commercial bone broths

I also like these bone broths from Kettle & Fire to add to stews or just to heat up when I need to warm up. (especially the chicken and mushroom one). Instead of a coffee or a tea, it is a great hot drink!

(click on picture below for more information or to purchase a variety pack to try out!)








Drinking bone broth warms my soul and grounds me for sure!

Love, Lonneke

p.s. I have not been paid for this article, actually I buy these products myself, and am just giving my honest opinion! :)

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.

Now 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.


Copyright text Lonneke Engel. First published on Youbeauty in 2013

Organice yor Documents

Organize Your documents

Nothing is worse than losing all of your important information! Like what happened a few times in my life: My computer crashed. It is not only that I cannot regularly update this website when it happens, but also, all my important information is gone if I don't take the right precautions and "organice" my documents and paperwork.

What can you do to Organice your Documents?

  • You can get an external hard drive, which is a good option, but those can crash too... What I found is the best solution, is to save documents that I need in the future, or that I am working on, online!
  • Google documents is a great way to online work on documents, order them, and save them. Also, you can invite people to read the documents, and you can also decide who can work on them or not! There are many other, virtual places where you can save your information, like Dropbox.
  • Share documents and emails with loved ones so we all know what's going on. Like Facebook saves your friends, thoughts, pictures and words, Flickr saves your pictures, you can basically save anything! ( and have the world see it if you decide too!)
  • You can share documents and large files with Wetransfer.

Online you can find more places that are suitable for every bit of information you like to be saved, secretly or for everyone to see. I still love the old-fashioned handwritten documents though, nothing beats real paper documents in my opinion.

As you can see it has become so easy to organize your documents!

Love, Lonneke

Organice Your Home

Organize Your Life: Make Your House Your Home

The first step in the Organice Your Life circle of 5 is : Organice Your Home. Let me give you a short introduction to how you make your house your home!

Organice Your Life - Circle of FiveTo start “organizing your life in an organic and nice way", also known as "Organice Your Life", you should start with your home base, and do a complete inventory and organization of it. You can’t see clearly what part of your life needs improvement, when the place you live or staying at, is not organized. A cluttered home equals a cluttered mind. Whether it is your home or a temporary stay, you need to know what your foundation is made of. See your life as a house. You can’t build a solid house from the ground up, if the foundation is weak. Your place of residence is your foundation. So, how does it look? Start first by cleaning up, organizing and fixing things. Maybe adding some TLC . After "organicing" your home, you know exactly what you have, what you don’t have, what you need or don’t need. Getting rid of things feels like eliminating toxic waste. Plus, next time you go shopping you only buy what you truly need. By making the place you live comfy and nice, will make everybody present feel good.

The Five steps to Organice your Home

1. Organice Your Living Spaces

Settling the different areas of your house. 

The layout of your home is very important to create a good "flow". Are all the rooms and spaces used the right way? Is all the furniture in the best place? Maybe reorganize and make it flow better!

READ MORE: Organize your Bathroom

2. Organice Your Household

Managing the cleaning & organizing of your house.

Hygiene is important. Find a routine in cleaning your home. The more of a routine you have, the more clean and organized your space will look most of the time, and you won't create a big mess that takes even longer to clean up! This way you will also know where everything is. When you need those items, they are easier to find.

READ MORE: Oven cleaning

3.  Organice Your Home Design

Making your house feel like home.

This is all about renovation and interior design of your home!  Paint and the right furniture, pictures, you name it. A little bit of updating here and there, painting and maybe a new piece of furniture? Add those special ornaments that mean so much to you, or those pictures that bring back memories.

READ MORE: Renovating my Bathroom

4. Organice Your Home Ambiance

Bringing some nice atmosphere to your home.

You can create a nice "vibe" by adding the right lights and candles, heat, scents and a good air flow. Anything that makes you "feel" great inside your home! I love salt lamps, essential oils, little candles and an air purifier to help the environment of my space.

READ MORE: salt lamps

5. Organice Your Home: Flora & Fauna

Taking care of your plants and pets, indoors and outdoors.

Plants can be beneficial for the air quality and bring joy to a home. They need care and attention just like your children, pets, relationships and of course, yourself.

READ MORE: Vertical Garden

Many households have pets. These loving animals also need their space in your home. When you have given them a spot that they love too, you will see the whole home is coming together just right.

READ MORE: A Dog is part of the family

Get a schedule together for the care of your plants. Get a schedule for the care of your pets. Make it a routine and they will do really well.

Start organizing your home by following these steps and think about how you can make your house your home!

Love, Lonneke


How to deal with stress and anxiety

Everyone deals with stress and anxiety at one point in their life. And every person gets overwhelmed for different reasons. That's why I decided to have a live chat with my best friend of 25 years Maruja Retana to talk about it!

Maruja Retana

Maruja (Maru) helps singers & songwriters achieve peak performance, also known as ‘the flow’. After obtaining her Master’s Degree in Cognitive Psychology, Maruja started working as a psychologist in the Netherlands. In her role as facilitator - helping other people define and reach their goals & dreams - she realised that she herself wasn’t living her most fulfilled life. She quit her job, and decided to go straight for the thing she wanted most: music. She signed with Sony/ATV in 2011 as a singer/songwriter; worked with several top producers, artists and songwriters; released songs that appeared in the charts, on the radio and music festivals; and performed all over the world. Having achieved her childhood dreams, Maruja felt inspired to help other singers navigate the challenging music industry. She founded the Vocal Psychology program - a combination of voice coaching, performance coaching, and mindset coaching - and has successfully coached hundreds of singers (beginners and professionals) for the last 10+ years.

MORE ON MARUJA: Her music video for Right Through Me hit 1 million views!

Lonneke, Maruja & Joey brainstorming
Lonneke, Maruja & Joey brainstorming

How do you deal with stress?

The recent Lockdown due to the Coronavirus gave some people a great sense of peace as they finally had time to spend at home with family and sleep a few more hours a day, but many people were suffering from depression, sadness and anxiety because of the unknown. We cover everything and even go ahead and did a breathing exercise! Watch it below:


Panic attack

A little secret: Just before the filming of this video I had a minor panic attack. Felt dizzy etc. So it is true that everyone has some kind of anxiety at some point! Maruja talked me through it, and once we started filming, I started relaxing and enjoying the video.

What can you do to deal with stress and anxiety

One thing I learned from my conversation with Maruja: Address your stress and anxiety, and become friends with it. You have stress and anxiety for a reason, for instance to stay awake and perform well right after. So if you can use it to your advantage, you can become stronger and better.


I hope you subscribe to my Youtube channel if you like this video and want more. I have fun doing them and hope you enjoy them too!

Love, Lonneke

Lettuce wraps

Vegan Lettuce Wraps

Once upon a time I made a video for lettuce wraps! Now I am sharing a variety on this recipe, the vegan lettuce wraps!

READ MORE:  Thai Lettuce wraps

About the vegan lettuce wraps

The recipe is nice for the colder months of the year, as the ingredients are cooked and will warm your tummy!

I use sesame oil to stir fry it as it gives a delicious flavor to the vegetables.

Love, Lonneke


Use simple organic ingredients:


READ MORE:  The history of the lettuce wrap AKA Lettuce sandwich


Sesame oil

Hot & Sour sauce
Hot & Sour sauce

Lettuce wraps


Stuffing my face with the vegan lettuce wraps!


Love, Lonneke

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!)

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:




Consume less live more

Sunset NYC

The Art of Letting Go

I am going to talk about something personal with you. I love making memories, but I have a hard time of letting go. When I like something, I don't want to lose it. And when it is time to say goodbye, it is pretty hard for me to let go. Sounds familiar?

The simple things in life

I like simple things in life. I love my marriage, my dog, my apartment, my life. I don't need or crave much else. My life is all about creating memories with the ones I love, and inspiring others while doing so. I wish everything could stay the way it is now, but life is not like that. Life is constantly changing, good and bad things will happen. Good times will pass, but Bad Times will pass too. Experiencing deep lows, will make you appreciate the high times in your life. Life is about dealing with everything that comes at you, every single day of your life. It is very hard and especially for a Highly Sensitive Person or HS Person like myself.

DO THE TEST: Are you a Highly Sensitive Person? 

Keeping things the way they are

You can't keep everything the same even if you want to. Kids grow up, your favorite pets die, people break up and so on. And if you stay stagnant, you do not grow either. You have to move on, and let go of some things to be able to enjoy these new things that come your way. Step by step, day by day. If you have to make changes in your life, do it slowly and start with one project and move on to the next after the first one is moving along. That's what I try to do. Every day I try to tackle one thing, especially when they can cause an emotional reaction within me. As a PTSD sufferer, I need to really process and digest every stressful thing that comes my way.

The Art of Letting Go

One thing I work on everyday through Organice Your Life  is getting better at letting go.  I really think it is an Art if you can do it without causing too much emotional distress. I want all the things that made for happy memories stay the way they are forever. I can think for hours about good memories from the past. I really appreciate the good things that happened in my life, still regularly visit the sweet places I once was part of, and stay in contact with the nice people who have been such a big part of my life at one point in my life. I don't want them to change, but they do. And if we deal with changes in a good way, we can be stronger and enjoy and grow with them.

Life is about Birth and Death and everything in between - Lonneke Engel

Saying goodbye

In my life I had to say goodbye to so many People and things. And a lot of times I had no say in it at all.  I had a good relationship with my father. Then one day my father died. I had a good relationship with my Grand mother, and one day my grand mother died. I had friends die on me, I had acquaintances die on me. My horse Key West was in my life for 18 years. I did not want him to die ever. But one day he died. My dogs Kenya and Vito died. Because the only bad thing about dogs is that they don't live forever. And one day my favorite cat Sushi did not come home. You get the picture: good things in my life disappeared.

The older you get, the more you will deal with Death and be forced to say goodbye. Only when you are all grown up you realize this concept is true. So the sooner you learn the Art of letting go of anything in life in a peaceful way, the better you can deal with these intense life events.

My horse Key West

Breaking up is a mourning process

Besides the ones who died,  I also had to say goodbye to some people as well during my life. Because we did not match, did not get along, or wanted different things. When you break up with someone you have to go your separate ways. And you can't be best friends with all of then. For instance with your exes. That would be weird.  Every break up it felt like something was dying on me, and it is the same mourning process as when someone close to you dies.

Letting go of friends

Friendships come and go. I am lucky that I have a few friendships that have lasted for decades, but there were moments in my life I was super close with someone for a few years, and then something happened and we weren't friends anymore. Again, that feels like a mourning process.

with my lovely besties since high school, Maruja & Lianne!

READ MORE: Organize Your Relationships

Proper closure

Either way, I am happy to see when all the people who I had a close bond with in my past are doing well and are happily married or something. If I have to say goodbye to them because we are going in a different direction, I really need the separation to go well, otherwise I suffer and can't deal with it. It has to be a smooth break-up, and I have to be on good terms, otherwise it bothers me too much for the rest of my life. I spend a lot of time on closures of different things.

And sometimes I go back to these people after decades if I feel that there wasn't a proper, rightful closure. When that finally happens, I feel closure.

Changing careers

The one thing I surprisingly had no issue with saying goodbye to, was my successful modeling career. Looking back I think it is because the industry had changed while I had stayed the same, and it made the experience less fun for me. In my opinion, I had achieved everything I could dream of regarding modeling. Due to hard work of myself and the people I worked with, I experienced the exclusive contracts for makeup, skincare and clothing brands, the beautiful shoots and wonderful trips, as well as that Vogue Cover. It was time to move on, and work on projects that were more about using my brain, than my looks.

Ralph Lauren by Regan Cameron

Making Memories

We inevitably die one day, we can not take anything physically with us. The only thing we can take with us are the memories we made, so make them worthwhile. Enjoy people, animals, things, places and happy emotions once they are present, because it all ends on day.

The one thing we can be sure of is that tomorrow the Sun will come up in the morning, and in the evening the Sun will go down. The rest is all one big surprise.

Mental Picture

My husband told me a story of a little 5 year old boy he met. And this stuck with me. The little boy said when he liked something and he had to leave it behind, he would take a "mental picture" of it (with the actual hand gestures of holding a imaginary camera and taking.a picture) so he could take with him forever. And I have been using this technique ever since I heard that boy do it. When I have to let go of something, I make sure I spend time consciously taking it in, taking that "mental picture". I noticed once I do it more consciously, the memories stay with me in a stronger way. We can learn a lot from kids if we are open to it.

Love, Lonneke

Smoothies for dummies.

You want to incorporate healthy foods like smoothies into your life but don't know where to start? I give you some easy simple tips so you can start right away! 

STEP 1 Smoothies for dummies:

Buy a GOOD BLENDER. The quality of the blender is really important because a smoothie really needs to be blended well to get best result for taste and texture. The more watts usually means better crushing of tough foods like kale or ice. I like the ones with a square glass container as it helps the blending process. (foods are thrown into the corner and bounce back into the middle.) There are many good ones. Vitamix, Magimix and Breville are good brands. Check out reviews online before you buy yours. the sound of the machine while working is important too. I don't like it when it is making too much noise.

READ MORE: My favorite Smoothie

STEP 2 Smoothies for Dummies:

Work with FRESH CLEAN FOODS. The most important thing is that you always work with foods that are good to eat, and cleaned thoroughly. As it changes the flavor right away and maybe ruins the whole smoothie if you put in only one ingredient that is not totally clean or fresh. Leafy greens are great as they have A LOT of essential minerals and vitamins. in a smoothie with fruits you won't taste it but you do enjoy the vitamins. Try it! Options are: Spinach, Kale, Parsley Collard Greens, Romaine.. anything you like. (if you suffer from thyroid diseases like hypothyroidism go easy on the green raw vegetables)  Other vegetables like adding fresh  carrot juice or beet juice can work too. The more vegetables you put in, the more fruits you should add to balance the flavor out.

READ MORE: Find more smoothie recipes here on  in the recipes section, right here.

Fruit Juice by Joey
OYL contributor Joey Holthaus also likes to make smoothies with fresh ingredients. Doesn't it look great?

STEP 3 Smoothies for Dummies:

SAFETY. Place the blender in a safe place when you work with it and make sure the lid is tight.


  • 1. 1/3 liquid (That can be anything you like: water, almond milk, rice milk, milk, hemp milk, soy milk etc)
  • 2. 2/3 fruits and vegetables you want to blend. (the more fruits, the sweeter it will taste.)
  • 3. spoonful of extra ingredients like vitamin powders.
  • blending takes +/- 15 seconds. So making this is like less than 5 minutes with cleaning the ingredients and the blender included!



  • -Almond milk
  • -Kale
  • -Banana
  • -Vitamineral or Detox powder or any healthy powder.
  • Just blend and enjoy!

Love, Lonneke

5 rules to healthy food for children

I get this question a lot: what should I feed my children? What kind of perfect food for children should I prepare? I have 5 rules to healthy food for children that I live by when I have kids over, like my nephews Navy, Milo and niece Lux, or other children. When I have kids of my own, I will also follow these guidelines:

1. Don't bring any foods into your home that you know are not healthy for your children

I mean soda, chips, sweets, candy, chocolate, and other heavily advertised food-like products. I say "food-like" because most of these products have so many ingredients that you can't pronounce, that it is more of a laboratory experiment than real food, and I discourage you from feeding it to your children. Almost all good food items have less than 5 ingredients that you can pronounce.

Rule: The more advertised a product is means that it is probably not so good for you and your kids.

2. Cook yourself.

This is important: When you cook yourself, you know what your children are eating. Of course taking out food or heating pre-made dinners, are easy and fast, but on the long run harmful for your children. You need to make time for your children to prepare and cook them a nutritious meal 3 times a day! Cooking the right foods for your children is the most important. You make them wear nice clothes, spend a lot of time with them, give them education.. why would you feed them bad food? It does not make sense.  Think of everything you buy: "Can I make or prepare this myself if I put 5 minutes of thought into it?" And then do it. Pre-packaged food is usually much more expensive than when you buy the ingredients yourself. So it is a budget tip as well!

Rule: There is no excuse for not taking the time to give your kids a good start with their nutrition.

3. Children can eat what parents eat.

Why children's menus? Don't get your kids used to them! They usually are unhealthy with lots of fries, hot dogs and burgers anyway. The first months of a child's life, a child needs breast milk (or milk alternative). When the child has teeth, you can start incorporating small amounts of mashed fruits and vegetables. When they can chew, you add more solid foods like pieces of apple, meat and vegetables. This is all common sense. But why do parents freak out when the children get older? There is no need for that.

Rule: Kids can eat whatever parents eat. Just smaller amounts. So prepare one meal for the whole family, and give a small plate to your children.

4. What foods should my children eat?

It is very simple. Children should eat lots of ORGANIC foods, including (green) vegetables and fruits. Why organic? Because conventional products contain lots of chemical additives, pesticides, hormones and other bad stuff. Especially when children are growing, they do not need these ingredients. So avoid them and eat organic as much as possible. Children also need to drink enough water every day. And that does not mean the sugary soda & milk drinks that you find on the market and that call themselves "healthy" & "fat-free" either. Another rule: usually when it is fat-free, they need to add sugar to make it taste good. And vice versa. Children also need the right amount of protein every day, just like us grown ups, but not too much. A bit of fish, meat, chicken, cheese,eggs and milk once a day every day is o.k. But too much animal protein is said to not be healthy for your child either. It is all about balance. If you raise your child vegan or vegetarian that is more difficult and you really need to keep an eye out for their protein and calories intake ( a vegan diet is usually much lower in calories needed for healthy growth) as well as their vitamin and mineral levels (calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin B-12, and some of the other B-vitamins for instance) If your child is behind in growth or weight compared to other children his or her age, you need to check it with a pediatrician, as well as make sure they take in the right nutrients every day. Other sources of protein in vegan foods are in beans, legumes, soy, tempeh, tofu. There are organic vegan protein powders available that some parents give to their kids, they add it usually in the morning in their breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and do not let your child leave for school without it! You need to make time for it, so they have enough energy to learn things at school. What for me is the most important is, is that children eat as little processed and pre-packaged foods, but take in lots of organic produce and foods. I am not a big fan of soy products or processed soy products in general (except for fermented tofu) but also for young children especially for boys, as some research has shown that soy can interact with estrogen receptors and therefore interacts with hormone levels in children.

Rule: when a food product is heavily advertised in magazines, tv or internet, it is very likely this food is NOT healthy or good for your child, even if there are all kinds of claims on the product that it is healthy. Read ingredient lists and see for yourself.

  1. Ask your pediatrician for the basic do's and don'ts for food for young children, it is important to speak to them about your child's health!
  2. Don't feed children under 1 years old any honey as it can contain traces of botulism which can be toxic for young children as they have not developed defense against that yet. 
  3.  Also make sure your child is not allergic to certain foods like nuts, gluten & dairy. You can ask your doctor to test your child for allergies so you can find out if he or she is in fact allergic. This will make feeding your child the right food that much easier, as your child will not experience the discomfort when eating foods that he or she is allergic too. (We don't want children to get a bad association with food)

5. How do I get my child to eat these healthy foods?

They say that whatever you eat during pregnancy, your child grows fond of. So if you eat a lot of broccoli, your child would love that more? I haven't read any scientific proof of that, but it sounds good. Also, Broccoli or other green vegetables are good for you and the development of the baby anyway! The sooner you get your baby used to different types of food, the easier you will have them eat it when older. The more prepackaged snacks you give your child growing up, the less likely they are to love "normal" foods, because they get used to the strong taste of the prepackaged food, that are usually full of sugar and fat. So in the beginning, you have to just try different vegetables and fruits to see what your child loves. Every child is different! So remember: the more you have your child get used to strong flavors like sugary sweets and salty fries, the less likely they are to eat your food.

Children love cooking with you

What I noticed is, that children love cooking with you, it is a game to them! And when they cook or prepare foods with you (think baking a loaf of bread) they feel connected to the food they make and will feel more satisfaction when eating it. Also, it is a great way to spend time together with your child! Decades ago, when women where mostly taking care of the household (and every woman knew how to cook healthy foods), mother's were preparing lots of delicious meals at home when their kids were present. Nowadays we open a bag or a can and call it dinner. Think about it. It is not inspiring for us, it is not inspiring for our kids. So make your kitchen a happy place instead of a place where you store candy and sugary drinks.

Make healthy food fun!

Because what you can do is make healthy foods fun! Make snacks of vegetables and fruits, so kids like them. If you get children to like these healthy foods, they will ask for this food item next time instead of the "bad food". For instance cook string beans and cut them precisely so they are all the same length, and put them in a french fry paper bag with a healthy dipping sauce. so it looks like they are eating french fries, the healthy way! What also works is making healthy foods "come alive" by cutting out a face, or making animals or puppets from foods, you can also do this with your kids as a fun game. Be creative!

Fun stories

I have even heard stories that if you read your child bedtime stories in which the main character loves a certain kind of vegetable or fruit (think Popeye loving spinach and getting strong that way) your child is more likely to eat these vegetables. So make up a story about Mr. Tomato or Miss Pineapple, and maybe your child will love these foods more too!

Ideas for food for children:

  • Prepare fruit soup, juices or smoothies from scratch yourself. Tip: add 1 vegetable to 1 piece of sweet fruit, like spinach to a banana, and your child will not know that there is a vegetable in the smoothie)
  • If your child really dislikes a certain kind of food, like kale or brussels sprouts, prepare it once in a totally different way. For instance add kale raw to your fruit juice smoothie, or shred the brussel sprouts and stir fry them with some salt and pepper. Sometimes children have an aversion not to the taste, but to the texture. So you can play with both flavor and texture.
  • Make your own apple sauce and jams & marmalades for on their sandwich.
  • Eat more rice, quinoa, bulgur, spelt instead of pasta and bread. It is just healthier for everyone.
  • If you love bread, bake your own bread! Smells good too and it is fairly easy.
  • Steam and cut vegetables (easier to digest), or cut fruits in fun shapes and  give them in a way so they can hold the pieces easily in your child's hand.
  • Make your own dips like hummus or grilled pepper dip instead of mayonnaise. You can also make your own tomato ketchup.
  • Cook vegetables, grains, meats until really soft so it is easier for children to chew.
  • Cut food in small pieces so they don't choke either. Rule: the bigger the child, the bigger the pieces.

I will post more food recipes suitable for children in the future here on Organice Your Life®!

So, there is no excuse for feeding your children bad food.

Love, Lonneke

picture: Navy Lamey and James the pug by Alexia van der Meijden.