BLONDE & B R O K E in Berlin: how to tackle food cost?

How to survive on a budget in one of the coolest cities on the planet? 

Find out in the following bit!

So as you know I am now free living and freelancing in Berlin. I am not near the point where I make shit loads of money YET (especially if you have read what happened to me in the previous post) so that’s why I have to tackle my money business in a clever way.

(…) Me going to Ibiza for 4 days probably wasn’t the cleverest of ideas but I considered it more to be an investment since I had the time of my life with people I love and care for. Bonus points for mental health yo! 

Picture 2017-09-27 om 15.37.56

The traveling threesome ❤

But this cannot mean I can go on a Spree. No matter how close I live to this river (…)

The truth is: Good things in life don’t come for free so I have to really think about what I spend and if that correlates with what I get out of it.

For instance: I could stop eating. That way I don’t have to spend money.

True. But there is no point in not taking care of my body as I don’t want to get sick as I don’t want to spend money on doctors and medical bills. Hm, do I even have insurance, I wonder?

So I have made some calculations and I have estimated myself a 15 euro allowance per day to spend on ‘surviving’ (rent not included). With this I can anticipate in basic needs. Food and beverages come first. That should be more than enough right?

Rrrright… But when I need toiletries, laundry soap or tickets for public transportation this also has to come from the same allowance which means I have to do some creative shifting here and there.

Especially in case I would want to buy shoes or clothes. LUCKILY I stopped buying that shit ages ago! I don’t feel like spending money (considering the previous mentioned correlation theory) on things I don’t really need. I’m usually ahead of fashion any ways (:-p) so I much rather put my money where my mouth is.

mileymouth

Okay, so how to tackle food cost in Berlin? Actually it’s pretty darn easy…

  • EXPLORE DISCOUNT PARADISE
    Germany is ‘Die Heimat’ of Lidl and Aldi. So if you want to hit the jackpot involving discount shopping: you’re in the right place. Next to those you also have Penny, Netto, Kaiser’s and Kaufland. I suggest you visit them all and see where you can nibble some extra cents of certain products. Believe you me, it’s the ‘LIDL’ things that count!
  • RECYCLE YOUR BOTTLES 
    This one is a little trick to actually earn money. When you buy plastic bottles in the shop you can collect them in a machine and get 0,25 euro back per bottle. Glass bottles are worth 0,08 euro a pop. So be wise and recycle yo! It’s good for the environment and for your wallet. But for the sake of ‘Nächstenliebe‘: when you find empty  bottles or cans in the street or in the metro, leave them for the homeless so they can have a little pocket money too.
    bottles
  • MAKE FRIENDS WHO INVITE YOU FOR DINNER
    It’s always advised to make friends. Especially when they have a kitchen and a big fridge. Dinner parties are pleasant, cozy and budget friendly.

    moss

    You can bring a cheap bottle of wine if you feel like returning a favor. These days even a nice bottle of biological Italian wine from the BIOMARKT costs only 2,90 euros.
    cannibal
    It’s even nicer when you cook together with a bunch of people! This way you can have a gorgeous round of cooking and split the costs all together.

    cookingwithhany

    Cooking with honey, I mean, Hany

    Big meals are much cheaper than cooking for 1. Life for a single gal not only comes with a price, it’s also pricey!

  • GO TO THE MARKET
    huling
    Why would you want to pay 3 euros for 1 avocado when you can pay 3 euros for a bunch of avocados? Der Genter Wochenmarkt (U-bahn Leopoldplatz) is an insider tip for your fruit and veggie fix. It has been a well kept secret for over 80 years now. Be prepared for some old fashioned market trader shouting as well as a big crowd of customers. You can find everything here from a new zipper to a vitamin boost. You can have a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice for 1 euro. Only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

 

 

 

  • FAST 
    Coming back to the ‘not eating part’ here. Actually that’s not a bad idea at all. I have done some research on the matter and there is compelling evidence that skipping one meal a day actually improves physical and mental health. There is a whole nutritional war going on right now aiming to bring down the breakfast lobby. It’s all just a bunch of marketing from Captain Oats and Tony The Tiger. I feel most energetic and productive in the morning when my body solely runs on black coffee. I have a whole storage cabinet of fat cells for my body to tap into, so I’m sure I won’t starve from skipping one meal a day.
  • DOWNLOAD ‘TOO-GOOD-TO-GO’ unnamed
    This is absa-fucking-lutely brilliant. It’s an app – you can download it in the German iTunes Store for free – where restaurants offer leftovers at a ridiculously low price. It’s a great way to cut down food cost as well as food waste and to be more sustainable in regards to the planet. Basically this app is doing everyone involved a HUGE favor.
  • EAT OUT
    This may sound a little contradictory but in most cases going out for dinner can be cheaper than buying ingredients and cooking a meal for 1. Compared to Antwerp, Berlin is much cheaper to eat out. You can easily find a big healthy meal between 4 to 7 euros. And there are so many healthy choices including a lot of vegan options. Vegan cuisine is big in Berlin. I get my vegan fix at VEGO in LychenerstraBe (Prenzlauer Berg). In this neighborhood there is a wide array of restaurants -especially Asian- who offer alternative vegan or vegetarian dishes. For vegan cocktails you must go to ‘Chaostheorie’ in SchliemannstraBe and on the corner with LettestraBe you have to swing by ‘Wohnzimmerbar’ for the vegan soup of the day or a nice soy latte. Creative, cute and cozy! My favorite work spot to date! Speaking of dates….

    (Left: vegan burgers at VEGO; Right: cozy outings at Wohnzimmerbar)

  • GO ON A DATE !
    If chivalry isn’t dead, you will be golden with this one. Meet a guy for drinks, have a nice talk and maybe go for a little bite to eat, charm him with your magical charming wand and before you know it he picks up the tab and you don’t have to spend one nickel. It happened to me twice already, and I wasn’t even doing it on purpose. Every time I went out, the guy picked up the tab. It was twice at Kreuzburger though… which usually doesn’t cost more than 5 or 6 euros. Tofu burgers cost a little bit more than meat ones :-p
  • LAST BUT NOT LEAST: ALWAYS KEEP EYES AND EARS OPEN
    A good insider tip might just be one station away…bestplace-berlin-amen-01

If you stick to these basic ‘budget hacks’ you will hardly burn through your daily allowance. When this is the case I like to treat myself to a yummy coffee somewhere… Preferably with a little side order of brain food.

There is always money for a little comic relief. 
“Swallow me whole”, that’s exactly what that vegan bowl at ‘the Commonground’ said to me later that night! 

If you want to check all of this out for yourself: there is currently an amazing offer to come to Berlin practically for FREE!

Picture 2017-09-27 om 17.41.28

3 days in a 4 star hotel including breakfast (that damn breakfast lobby) for only €49,50! @vakantiepiraten.nl

Come and live FREE with ME next to the SPREE!

It is such a GREAT city!! ❤ ❤ ❤

XO

Epidemic state of mind (should the world go Vegan?)

(***This post could contain traces of dairy, meat, fish, eggs, fish eggs, saturated fatty acids, other animal products and schizophrenia merely for illustrative reasons.)

You guys, I’m in a bit of a lacto-fermentated pickle here. Recently I saw a documentary on Netflix called ‘WHAT THE HEALTH’. 

whatthehealth

This film examines the link between diet and disease, and the billions of dollars at stake in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and food industries.

I was triggered by the title. For a word smith like me, it’s quite an arousing play of words. Also the fact Joaquin Phoenix is the executive producer definitely doubled the arousal.

Turned out it was the most disgusting horror movie I had ever seen in my life. I was abhorred by the testimonials and the investigations and it absolutely pushed me to consider to drastically change my eating habits.

Oh my cream-cheese-bacon-and-egg-bagel: Has the moment arrived? Is Evelien Delgouffe about to go Vegan?

hercules

Vegalien! Vegalien! Vegalien!

Not so fast. I’m not too keen on the idea yet. I have my nutrition traditions, my ways, I don’t like drastic changes. I love barbecues. I love food. I love cold cuts and I love cheese. Oh my god, do I love cheese!

emmastone

I’m a dairy fairy. But the more I think about it, the less I can support my own lifestyle any more. We are in a epidemic state of decay caused by corrupted parties who benefit from our illnesses and belly fat.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the animals too, and this could also be a valid reason to stop eating animal based products.

lisa_the_vegetarian

When I look up videos of factory farms and stuff, I feel disgusted but an hour later I could already be enjoying a nice carpaccio with some pesto and sun dried tomatoes.

emmastone

(This GIF is hilarious)

Because that’s what we are good at: turning a blind eye to things we don’t want to know about in the first place.

I was particularly good at it BUT NOW! The time has probably come to make a change.

I refuse to slowly kill myself from the inside.

Because reality of the documentary is: if we continue eating dead animals, saturated fats, and dairy… We will slowly infest ourselves with cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, …

inflammation

All of this has left me CRAZY CONFUSED about what to do and whom to trust. My brain is seesawing. One half wants to agree with the documentary and protest against pharmaceutical companies, meat and dairy industries, even hospitals and so-called health organizations.

But the other half just wants to stay calm and find some kind of in-between and possibly even a silver lining.

I think it’s time for a debate.

Blonde brain half? Clueless brain half? The floor is yours!

Vegetarians

#BLONDE: “If everyday foods are so bad for us, then why-hy isn’t the government warning us?”

#CLUELESS: “They are. But not really. Because they benefit form food industries and their effect on our health care system. That’s how they get their funds. If we all would be plant eating super humans the hospitals would be empty, nobody would need health insurance, doctors would be unemployed, the pharmaceutical business would go belly-up, … These are multi million businesses at stake here. Funds the government needs. To make it even more absurd: while it’s proven that deep fried foods cause cancer and diabetes, companies such as KFC actually sponsor Diabetic and Cancer organizations. It’s good for their image, it’s cost deductible and the organizations are happy with the donations… My thought? WITHOUT CARCINOGENS IN OUR FOODS THERE WOULDN’T BE SO MANY CANCER OR DIABETES TO CURE IN THE FIRST PLACE!

WhatTheHealth278_FBquote

(Side note: At one point in the documentary it struck me how government Associations even put recipes with carcinogenic ingredients online. And how a company -in it’s worldwide bid to battle breast cancer actually encourages to buy a ‘pink ribbon yoghurt’ even though yoghurt (dairy) has been proven to augment the risk of breast cancer.)

#BLONDE: “Why doesn’t anyone do anything about it?” 

#CLUELESS: “There are plenty of whistleblowers and vegan/alternative lifestyle ambassadors but we are a herd. We look at the herd, we follow the herd. We even EAT the herd!”

#BLONDE: “Lots of other people eat processed meats, and they look alright don’t they? Could it be the documentary is merely vegan propaganda brought by vegans who are extremely biased?”

#CLUELESS: “First part of the question: Well yes, I’ve never seen on anyone’s face that his or her arteries are clogged or that his or her heart is skipping a beat or that his or her liver is working over hours to get all the toxins out. It doesn’t show. But that doesn’t mean the threat and the effects aren’t there.”

(Funny fact: It’s kinda ironic but usually vegans are the ones who don’t look too healthy at first glance. I just made a joke about vegans last week. Them being moody, underfed, unenergized people with no joy in life. Pfff, I just say the darnest things…)

To answer your second question: “Vegan ambassadors and doctors do take the lead in this documentary. So yes, they could have done a lot of ‘cherry picking’ to make their point across.”

#BLONDE: “If you do everything with measure, you’ll end up good”

cletus

#CLUELESS: “Is this actually proven though?”

#BLONDE: “My grandmother turned 97 and she was thriving. I could settle for that. I don’t necessarily want to become 120 anyway.”

#CLUELESS: “Well our grannie was probably a lucky girl. But don’t forget, you pass on your bad habits after you die and your kids pass it on to their kids. And also: pull your head out of your ass and stop thinking about yourself for a second. It is not only your health, it is an ethical battle we are fighting here and a plea to save the environment.”

#BLONDE: “We are meat eaters, we need our protein”

bullcrap

#CLUELESS: “We are plant eaters. We have the teeth to prove it. The only reason animals give us protein is because they get it from their plant based diets. We just take in their recycled protein. By the way: elephants, rinos and silverbacks are some of the strongest animals alive and what do they eat? Right, greens!”

greengorilla

#BLONDE: “At least milk gives us strong bones”

#CLUELESS: “HORSE – SHIT!

pus

dairy sponsor

The only reason a cow produces milk is to feed her babies. Don’t step into that marketing talk or I’ll punch you in the ovary.

judgerudy

#MODERATOR: “Order! Order!”

#BLONDE: “The pharmaceutical industry can’t be all that bad. If they were, they wouldn’t be developing cures on a daily basis. Not as long as there are Nobel Prizes to win.”

#CLUELESS: “ABSAFUCKING DINOSAUR DUNG! Medication is just an easy way out. Take this pill for this knee, this pill for stress, that pill for arthritis, … It is NOT MAKING YOU ANY HEALTHIER.

man_file_1046439_anchorman-60percent

The only thing it does is keeps us addicted so we will use more and be more dependent of the pharmaceutical businesses. Holistic and alternative medicine exist for a reason and have proven to be quite effective too.”

#MODERATOR: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury it is time we reach a VERDICT”.

Thanks for the debate ladies. Since both parties have their valid points, I guess we can conclude by calling off a state of GENERAL CAUTION.

  1. People should be cautious and aware not every institution necessarily has the best interest in you staying healthy. We have to be critical at all times and take responsibility for our own actions. There’s no one you can sew when you get cancer. The end responsibility lies with you. Don’t be too naive. And sad to say but: trust no one!

    This goes for the Vegan hype as well. Maybe in a couple of years there will be more results on vegan and plant based diets and there’s a chance the results could be less ‘amazing’ than expected.

  2. There are probably a lot of manufacturers who want to benefit from this trend and offer you food that -though it’s vegan- contain other bad ingredients such as coconut oil or palm oil.

    Read the ingredient list carefully if you don’t want to be cheated on and stick to the products you know are good. Making sure you take in plenty of Omega 3’s and B12’s already makes a difference! If you don’t have enough B12 you will get depressed.

  3. Also watch out for restaurants serving you vegan food while it clearly isn’t.

GENERAL CONCLUSION 

  • It is probably right to say a drastic change in diet could be too much too soon. It’s not about choosing the healthiest option. It’s about choosing the less bad one. As for me: I will try easing into the vegan life, drastically cutting down my dairy consume and slowly but surely banning meat and poultry out of my life. Nuts, flax seeds, buckweed, fruits and veggies, be good to me!
  • Becoming Vegan is not just about food. It’s about cosmetics, household products, beverages, clothes, … All these things could contain animal based ingredients or could have been tested on animals. If you jump onto the vegan wagon, you have turn your entire life around.
  • If you accidentally burn your vegan sausages you will still get cancer.
  • If you stress too much about your health, you will still suffer a heart attack
  • Stay cautious and critical. In the years to come we will probably discover how much deaths The Coca-Cola Company has on it’s conscience and maybe we will be surprised to hear other reports. For instance: maybe flying in airplanes gives you cancer too. I already know for sure the food will (just joking). And maybe that aerosol hairspray you’re using to fixate your hair is making you sick too. What about your synthetic clothes and bed sheets?

Honestly, I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg lettuce, really.

We just have to find a way to still enjoy life without all the bad stuff pulling us down too much.

hellodarkness

Remember what I said about those vitamin B12’s.

And for those who need it, here’s the number for the suicide hot line:

555 – DON’T DO IT !

XO