At the end of April, I was sitting in the famous Fiddlers Green pub in Portaferry (Northern Ireland by the way for those new to my blog) to celebrate the end of yet another successful fieldcourse. It was my first (and only) Guinness of the week, and little did I know that it would also be my last (for 6 months anyway..).
As someone known to 'hold her drinks well', after my sporty and healthy life led me to reduce my intake, I was surprised at how one (just one!) drink seemed to affect me, so adding to tiredness of a week of early mornings and late evenings working with the students I was ready to collapse in bed pretty early. But even so, after just one drink and an early night, my morning run was somewhat disturbed from it and the all of the following day I felt less than my normal strong self. And that's when I decided that maybe I just shouldn't drink for a while. And this while has lasted 6 months, in all honesty without me noticing or without me missing it!
Let's have a look at some changes that it made in my life:
I recommend for everyone reading to try, not necessarily forever, at least one night out without drinking and see that you don't need it to be funny/liked/dance/talk to people - and if you do find yourself thinking that you need the booze to do all these things, then, maybe, is time to tackle the issue instead!
Most of us are aware that exercise should be incorporated in our busy schedules if we want to lead a healthy life. Guidelines recommend a min of 30 min of daily moderate exercise (something that increases your heart rate).
Exercise is often viewed as something "too expensive" to be included in daily routines, and that's true if we look at gym memberships, swimming pools, clubs and classes...
And if you include the fact that eating healthy is also more expensive than eating junk food (on this note I believe something really should be done by higher authorities!) - it may seem that healthy lifestyles are not affordable!
But let's have a look at ideas to exercise for free :
So - no more excuses - get on your gear and get out!!!
Coffee.. as many worldwide I am part of the 'coffee-addicts': without my first morning cup I can barely make sense. But how can we coffee addict ensure that our addiction is as sustainable as possible??
First: choose fair trade
Those beans that give us so much pleasures comes from countries far away where workers can be exploited, so make sure not to contribute to their exploitation by choosing fair trade, look out for the symbol and remember that cheaper isn't always better!
Second: coffee machine
So here the sentimentalisms start
From the UK in general..:
From my Belfast and NI time:
Of course I am also gonna miss all friends and people I have met on my journey, however technology is so advanced nowadays that I am sure we will keep in touch and we can visit each other so I won't get too sentimental!
And just to leave you all with a great quote from an even better book:
'What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies'.
Jack Kerouak - On the Road
I admit, or better confess, to have been a vegetarian for many years myself, with some flexibility whenever I returned home for short holidays, as my family found it too hard to comprehend, understand and even allow me, so had to close an eye. For various reasons, I have not been a vegetarian for a couple of years, and so I want to reassure all that this is not going to be a 'judgemental' post like many we see on the web nowadays. You eat meat, fish, dairy and eggs? So do I! However I am constantly trying to understand how to make this more sustainable. For example by eating less of all of the above, i.e. only one of them once a day, or have one or multiple vegan day a week.
But back to the seafood - why is this old-school concept that eating from the sea is so sustainable still alive? We know well by now (or should) that the sea does not provide us with unlimited resources. Yes, is vast and extremely deep, and there is still so much that we don't know about it - yet we are depleting many fish stocks and we are fishing down the food web.
And what about aquaculture? This is often considered a sustainable choices, farming fish so we don't deplete stocks.... but funny enough most don't realise that some fish feeds from aquaculture actually come from the meat industry, or we fish small fish (such as anchovies and sardines, which make for pretty great human food!) in quantities that are not as sustainable as many think! Not to talk about antibiotics, and the risk of farmed fish escaping and changing local gene pools, or even becoming invasive species.. There are all sort of ecological and environmental hazards associated with aquaculture.
But - as you know, the aim of this blog is to provide some solutions, not just reiterate the problems.
So here is how I try to be as sustainable as possible while eating seafood:
- Go small scale. The smaller the boats the lower the damage in my opinion and the greater the chance to help some fishermen and their family instead of funding some big company.
- Variation is key. Try different fish, maybe some crustaceans, molluscs. Don't always eat the same things. Try something new, it's exciting to try out new recipes and new flavours, and you spread the
- eat less of it
- Get a whole fish, understand where your food comes from. Teach your kids. Take them to the market or to a fishing town/fishing harbour. I am a strong believer that the fish fingers culture and ready frozen fish fillets have taken us away from remembering where our food comes from, what our food is and was.
- use the scraps. If you buy whole fish, head and bones can make great fish stock that you can freeze and use for other recipes later!
- And moreover, buy only what you need, and realise that often less is more (this goes for everything...)