New Island Values: Eat Less Meat

Hardly a specific goal – this one is twofold. It relates mainly to my other New Island Value – East More Fish. Naturally, if I eat less meat, I’d probably eat more fish.

This...no moreVisiting Berlin in February, the challenge stepped up. In a non-religious observance of Lent, I promised myself no meat until Easter.

It turned out that I failed in that challenge. Changing habits at the flick of a finger is hard graft as I found when I walked into a McDonalds ordering a hamburger, subsequently eating it all, and having the error of my ways dawn on me only days later.

But in general I have been eating much less meat.

I’m not suggesting there is a health benefit to this. Eating less meat was a way for me to challenge my diet and see what I need and what I don’t need. It was a personal goal to challenge myself in an area that would alter my habits, rather than a conviction that eating less meat was good or bad for me.

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New Island Values: Spend Less Time on Laptop

Macbook ProI feel that this aim was misguided from the start. It’s not necessarily how long you spend on a laptop, but what you do with it.

For me, I felt that I was becoming less focused as a result of technology. This really hindered my attentiveness when reading long articles or books. So limiting procrastination was key to this value.

Secondly, looking at a blue screen such as a laptop for extended periods of time has been proven to hinder your sight. My vision is already far from perfect.

To me, the main obstacle was stopping using the laptop right before bed. This is both detrimental to your eyes, but also provides you with a worse-off slumber. Waking up in the morning is brutal if you’ve been staring at your Mac seconds before you closed your eyes.

So i’ve failed to really change this habit much. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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New Island Values: Attend Debate Society

Bonnie Greer at the UCLU Debating SocietyUniversity College London provides a brilliant debate series regularly focusing on political, social, and religious issues. The panellists themselves are usually recognisable too. Controversy magnet Katie Hopkins appeared back in February to argue that women were (paraphrasing here) stupid to think there was a glass ceiling, whilst the likes of Bonnie Greer and Chris Bryant MP have also made appearances this year.

So it was of no problem to add this to the New Island Values. It would serve to both enlighten my knowledge of certain subjects, whilst also helping refine my own debating style.

For one reason or another I never showed up. I’ll have more chances come this October, but by then I’m guaranteed a busier schedule. It would be a surprise if this particular objective will be achieved this year. Alas.

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Berlin Skyline from the Berliner Dom

New Island Values: Learn German

German is my second language of choice for multiple reasons. It seems like a smart language to learn considering I spent three years in secondary school attempting it. Moreover, my father lived in the country for a few years, and we return regularly. Knowing the language would just make life easier. Add to this the fact that a large proportion of my friends are from Germany, and I feel guilty making them speak English all the time, and you have yourself the reason.

Unfortunately, my only spare time to pick up the langauge would have been over the summer – a summer which has now become ridiculously busy for me. But I will still try. I’m going over to Berlin again this summer, and will be heading to Stuttgart just before Christmas. By the time that happens, I hope to at least be able to communicate on a basic level.

So this task is pending success or failure.

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New Island Values: No Fries

Chips, Glorious Chips!Over the course of last year, whilst living in Notting Hill, I noticed a sharp increase in my chip intake. This was mainly the result of my lifestyle. Most evenings I wouldn’t make it back to the house until 9, and by then had no desire to cook. The chippie at the end of the street always seemed like a good option.

Of course having such fatty and oily food on such a regular basis is not good for anyone – especially if such a place begins to offer you a loyalty card for your efforts in keeping their business afloat.

Saying ‘No Fries’ was rather optimistic. It was never going to really happen – and it hasn’t. But at the same time, when I do cook, I’ve become much more inventive and healthy. I now lay claim to a rather mean Mediterranean Roast Vegetable Concoction, don’t you know. Plus I’ve been getting some great recipe tips from my friend’s blog, The Daily Miff.

Success in my book!

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