How to improve your life by living like an Italian

 

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All dolled up on the Vesuvius ❤

It’s almost been 5 months since I packed my suitcase, grabbed my passport, and left the best place to be. Speding holiday in Italy is, without a doubt, the best holiday decision I made. While I had the incredible opportunity of traveling all throughout the world, I always found myself excited at the prospect of spending my holidays in Europe, close to my “home” The Netherlands. But after spending time in Italy I have a dream of creating a new “home”, yes…in Italy.

As a child I spend a big chunk of my childhood moving back and forward between The Netherlands and Canada and after finally returning to The Netherlands I made a promise to myself that I would never ever move abroad again. One of the reasons I didn’t even go abroad for a semester during my time as a law student. So I never imagined that it would be possible to create a home across Europe lacking family, friends, and the same native language, but Italy is the easiest place in the world to do that. After my holiday, there were definitely some changes I made in my life, all thanks to my beloved Italians.

Take things slow

Italians take the word “slow” to a whole new level. They walk slow, they started the Slow Food Movement and they don’t believe in take away coffee because you’re supposed to drink it slowly etc. It is very weird to read this at first, because the Dutch are taught to hate everything that’s slow, but eventually you realize how relaxing and carefree life is if you just slow down. In our society everything succesfull must be fast and quick. Instead of doing that, sip your warm coffee from a real cup instead of taking it to go, take a nap in the middle of the day because you can, take a long lunch break if you don’t have a meeting to attend afterwards, spend 2 hours at dinner talking with your love. Life is so much better if you aren’t flying through it.

Know your limits

For example: Italians have mastered the art of drinking, but never getting drunk. The Dutch have the “sure, I’ll have another” mindset engrained thinking, what’s really the
harm in one more drink. But Italians don’t think that way. When they hit their limit, that’s it. They are the ultimate masters of consuming copious amounts of wine in the most auspicious and graceful way possible.

But know when not to worry about the limits

As a vegan I have many limitations compared to a non-vegan. Well, limitations in the eyes of others 🙂 Italians learn to enjoy and savor food, and not worry about the saturated fats or calorie count. Food is meant to be relished and Italians do that so well. In my case, even with my dietery limitations, you will never hear me turn down a meal because of the carbohydrate count. Vegan gelato 3 times a day? Why not! Pasta for lunch and dinner?
Sure! Food is a big part of my life. It makes me look good and healthy on the outside from within.

If you’re going to love someone, love them passionately

The couples in Italy are passionate beyond recognition. They love intensely. They will fight at home and then gaze adoringly into each other’s eyes over a café. They aren’t afraid to put their heart on the line for love, something we in the west could use a little more of. The Dutch are cold when it comes to love. Men treat their girls like “bromies” and women don’t bother to look sensual and sexy. They are so terrified to love passionately, they fear it will make them look weak. They fear it will cost a lot of money when there is a divorce, they fear they will miss out on life, they fear they
will turn out boring. If you’re me, you will not fear those things like the Italians do. Just let love radiate.

We can’t all live in Italy and you might not even like Italians. But, we can take lessons from their culture and traditions. So take a few notes, make some changes, follow your passions, spend an extra euro on quality tea or coffee, fall passionately in love, stop worrying, and eat some pasta. 😉

La Bella Figura: My Italian Way of Life

img_0860“The beautiful figure”, is literally the translation of La bella figura. This philosophy rules the lives of the Italians, but also my life. The main core of bella figura is presentation: how I look and how I make the best possible impression in all things.

Italy has been creating beauty for centuries so it is not a surprise that this concept is natural to the Italians. And because bella figura is hardwired in my personality, I realise I also have an Italian way of life. I incorporate beauty in every aspect of my life, whether I express it through my taste in art, the products I own or more simply by the perfect grooming of my appearance.

But it is also defined in behavior. Bella figura goes beyond presentation, image and visual beauty. Knowing how to graciously and properly interact with others in any social or public situation. Exhibiting gentility, tact and good manners is an essential component of fare una bella figura.

Genetic engineering and animal welfare

mouse_in_a_jarThrough genetic engineering (GE), animals are under threat of a new way of exploiting them. Most people don’t know it, but biotechnology companies and scientists us genetic engineering on farm animals to achieve a higher productivity level (a.o. meat, wool, milk), modify characteristic traits (a.o. apathetic pigs, faster growth rates) and to improve resistance to deseases. Genetic engineering i also applied to laboratory animals to make them more “useful” for animal testing and experimental purposes.

Why is this unethical?

Scientists want to be able to transmit specific traits of agricultural products beyond the natural boundaries of species (like spider genes into goats and human genes into pigs) and animals bred by traditional breeding do not, in general, have to put up with cruel and deliberately or accidentally induced deformities and ongoing bodily malfunctions (T. Poole, Animals, Alternatives and Ethics, Elsevier, 1997. p277-282.)

Pigs, sheep, cows and chickens have already been genetically modified in attempts to increase their production of milk and meat beyond the limits their bodies can bear without damage. Through a process called gene pharming, they have also been engineered to secrete therapeutic protein products for human medicine.

Apart from the immense suffering they cause to animals, these technologies are unrivalled, ridiculously costly and inefficient, and, most importantly, unsafe to both animals and humans. Spreading the truth will help to end this needless suffering. Personally, I would call it a moral duty to act against this violation of life – especially so for people who care about animals. If this insidious technology isn’t stopped now, it will, like the atomic bomb, become a permanent shadow over our world. We cannot treat animals like this.

 

 

 

 

 

5 fun vegan facts

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  1. The first people shunning animal products dates back more than 2.000 years.
  2. The vegan movement as we know today was established in 1943 in the U.K.
  3. Donald Watson from the Vegan Society came up with the name “Vegan”, derived from the word vegetarian, in 1944.
  4. With 1 vegan meal you save 3.000 gallons of water.
  5. The vegan diët can save world hunger.

 

Human ranking on the food chain

Like most people, I need others to survive. I need grocery stores for my food, companies to provide me of gas and electricity, cops with guns to protect me from the bad guys and larger animals. The list goes on. I don’t have the means to grow crops and if my electricity and gas would be cut off, I would be completely shut out from technology. So let’s say I am like most people and a world catastrophe takes place and eliminates all forms of technology including papers or books to gather information from. And by some weird reason our weapons also wouldn’t work. In this scenario…

What would become of mankind? Will we still be on top of the food chain? Humans have the idea we belong on top of the food chain. Whether it is to justify how we treat other species or to just justify a carnivorous diet and lifestyle. But are we on top of the food chain? According to the trophic scale (calculated level on the food scale) we are just a 2,2 amongst pigs and cows! The samen animals we slaughter and abuse to feed ourselves. The only reason we are not prey is because of our ability to reason and our technology.

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How do we know we are a 2,2 and below the range of fish? French researchers calculated the human tropic level by using data from the U.N. Food an Agricultural Organization. The findings were published in 2013 in the, Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences.

The scale is based on human diet, but in my point of view it shows we are not the stronger species. To be on top of the food chain we would have to eat the meat of the animals on the higher ranks and no way on earth are we stronger than a lion or polar bear. Imagine what I said at the beginning, without technology we would be as frightened as the pigs and cows or any animal we humans consume.