Veganuary Week Three – Documentaries

Here it is, finally, my review of five vegan documentaries I’ve watched over the past couple of weeks. They’ve definitely kept me on track, if not frazzled my brain slightly with all of the mind-boggling facts in the process.

Cowspiracy

I had a lot of “WTF????” moments whilst watching this first film. I knew there was some environmental benefits of vegetarianism and veganism, but I had no idea to what extent. And that extent is extreme, and made my overall takeaway from this; why are we not doing anything about this??? Although, the documentary did sort of answer that by explaining just how much influence the meat and dairy industries have in US government. For me this wasn’t so surprising – we all know that money rules the world – but it’s still shocking.

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I recommend all of these films, but if you’re particularly interested in the environment and the causes of climate change, I highly recommend this one, because I haven’t seen the discussion of the impact of animal agriculture on the planet in any other film or article.

Forks Over Knives

This was another “OMG????” documentary, but this time to do with health. The film goes into great detail about studies done by two different men – one a doctor the other a scientist- who have basically proven that animal products cause cancer and heart disease and other big killers in the Western world. Animal products literally cause cancer. How are we not talking about this???

One fact that blew my mind was that erectile dysfunction is one of the first signs of coronary heart disease. I’ve never heard this before but it makes so much sense! If arteries are blocked, blood can’t flow around the body properly, so can’t get to the penis! And it’s animal products that cause the arteries to block (you’ll have to watch it for the proper science), so if you wanna still be able to get it up, you’d better go vegan!

Vegucated

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In this one we follow three meat-eaters as they embark on the vegan journey, and learn all aspects of veganism and the benefits of it. Therefore it was well-rounded and looked at all aspects-from the environment, to health, to animal welfare. Going on the journey along with these people was also very interesting, and made it seem like something much more achievable, as we could see real people and the struggles they went through and how they dealt with them.

Earthlings

Earthlings is always talked about as one of those films that turns people off meat due to it’s shocking nature. It makes me feel sick, want to cry and get angry all at once. It is really heavy, and very graphic, so if that’s something you don’t think you can watch, I wouldn’t recommend. However, the shock-tactic certainly works for me, and lots of other people, especially as the main reason for me embarking on vegetarianism was compassion for animals. I can never unsee those images of the cruelty inflicted on innocent creatures, and couldn’t live with myself if I went back to contributing to that in any way.

As well as the shocking images – including slaughterhouse workers stomping on chickens and throwing pigs around by the tail – there are some myths defunked in this film, including the ‘no part is wasted’ myth in regards to the leather industry. Many people believe leather comes from cattle also raised for meat, but the film shows cattle bought from poor, desperate families in India, put through a terrible and drawn-out ordeal before being slaughtered purely for their skin.

Meat the Truth

With this being the fifth documentary on this topic I’ve watched within a couple of weeks, it isn’t surprising that the majority of the facts and figures were the same as I had already learnt.

However, all of the previous films have been American, so to have a European (specifically Dutch) perspective was really interesting. Marianne Thieme is a great speaker; very likeable and able to keep you intrigued through all of the numbers and percentages.

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Overall, I highly recommend watching all of these documentaries if you’re at all interested in any of these topics. Ignorance is often bliss, but having our eyes wide open is the only way we’re going to make positive changes in our own lives, to the lives of others, animals and the planet.

284268_210517712331331_2327292_nP.S. I always think it’s good to read around the topic to get other opinions, don’t take everything at face value, and always with a pinch of salt. Do your own research as well as watching these informative films, folks!

P.P.S. All of these are on Netflix apart from Earthlings and Meat the Truth which are on Youtube 🙂

‘The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs’ – BBC Documentary Review

Ill-thought-out, dangerous and way too simplistic

I came across this programme because, as she very often does, my mother had ripped out an article from the Daily Mail for me to read that she thought I may find interesting and/or useful (they very often are neither of these things, but I gave this one a go).

Within the first couple of paragraphs I was infuriated by the fact that Dr Van Tulleken is grouping antidepressants (drugs I have been taking for three years now, give or take) with other medication that is used for an entirely different purpose:

“I’m talking about the drugs we take because the world we live in makes us unfit, unhappy and overweight – antidepressants, painkillers and drugs like statins.”

Oh so us depressed folk take antidepressants to make us feel better cause the world makes us feel sad; it just gets us down sometimes, y’know? It’s exactly the same as having high cholesterol due to a bad diet and lack of exercise.

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Dr Chris and his bowls and bowls of pills

As a doctor of medicine I would assume you know it is much more complicated than this, Dr Van Tulleken? Not everyone who has clinical depression/anxiety or any of the other numerous disorders people take these life-saving drugs for can be treated using “non-drug alternatives such as exercise”.

Also, why are we classing mentally-ill people as ‘healthy’? He didn’t make the definition of ‘an average healthy person’ clear in his experiment, where he poured lots of fake pills into bowls to demonstrate how many this ‘average person’ will take over a lifetime. Feels more like a visual aid more invested in the shock-factor than actual facts and research.

This theme of carelessness when it comes to language used when talking about these issues continued in the documentary. In the introduction a clip was shown where Chris stated he felt “intensely depressed” at the enormity of the challenge. My jaw literally hung open. I’m guilty of using phrases such as this in a light-hearted manner, even comics-shoeboxblog-depression-help-544297though I know I shouldn’t because it perpetuates misconceptions and therefore the stigma surrounding mental health, but to hear not only a doctor, but a doctor who is claiming we need to stop prescribing so many antidepressants because “their effect is feeble”compared to basically just exercising (I didn’t hear or read any other alternatives apart from swimming in some cold water)…

It just shows how naive and ignorant this man clearly is, despite his arrogance and smugness, and this disgusts me. He essentially said that one woman’s chronic pain wasn’t getting any better because she was too lazy to do her exercises. Nice, huh?

Of course I recognise the dangers in prescribing so many antibiotics because bacteria are becoming immune etc., and I definitely don’t agree with just throwing antidepressants at anyone who shows signs of depression; other options should be explored and discussed and a joint decision made with the GP/psychiatrist and the patient.

The tone and attitude of both the article and the documentary was patronising and derogatory towards a wide and diverse range of patients; from the depressed to the chronic pain sufferers to those withpmdd_2_53503329 infections.Which I would like to reiterate, shouldn’t be put into one big bundle and compared to one another.

Dr Chris Van Tulleken may have had the best intentions going in to this, but really, if you’re that clueless about the things you want to so drastically change, maybe do some research before spouting rubbish? People look to you for advice as a doctor, at least make it accurate.

At this point in my life, I need my antidepressants to keep going, get me through day to day and earn a living. Someday I really would love to come off them, but until then, I refuse to be made to feel belittled, weak and ignorant by anybody. And so should you. Whether you take antidepressants, painkillers, statins or any of the other drugs demonised by this programme.

Resources: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3785796/How-swimming-cold-water-helped-depressed-woman-pills-TV-doctor-reveals-cases-drugs-don-t-work.html 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07w532p/the-doctor-who-gave-up-drugs-episode-1#group=p02q33dg 

http://miamant.blogg.se/category/personligt.html

http://funnyjunk.com/7+comics+on+depression/funny-pictures/5794158/

‘Clean Eating’s Dirty Secrets’ – BBC Documentary Review

I’ve been really intrigued by the ‘clean eating’ or ‘plant-based diet’ craze that’s been going around the internet for a while now; and even seriously considered giving it a go with so many bloggers and vloggers talking about all of the health benefits and how good they feel on this diet. I’m willing to try anything at this point to stop feeling so tired and awful all the time!

I’m also planning on going vegan (I’m veggie currently) in the near future, but I see a big difference between veganism and ‘plant-based’. The latter seems to be all about the health benefits, whilst the former is about animal cruelty and not wanting to contribute that.

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Now I’m not going to lie, clean eating sounds like a big commitment, and too much hard work for me to keep up with. I think in a way I’ve been looking for an excuse to not give it a go for that reason; so the title of this BBC documentary really appealed to me when I was scrolling through iplayer trying to find something to watch.

First of all, I’ve never seen any of Grace Victory’s videos, but I loved her from the opening of the programme, and I subscribed immediately. Shes’s hilarious, honest, and genuinely relatable, so she was the perfect person to host this documentary.

I think Grace clearly explained that there are many different definitions of ‘clean eating’, and it isn’t the same for everyone. This is worrying considering there’s so many people spreading possibly conflicting messages about what we should and shouldn’t be eating.

What works for one person might not work the same for another, so preaching a one-size-fits-all message is, frankly, dangerous. Having been one of those people obsessed with food, calories and exercise (looking back I probably had orthorexia) I know how easy it is to get caught up in the spiral, and how long it takes to basically rewire your brain into thinking about food and eating in a healthier way. Of course thinking about what you’re eating is important, but obsessing over reading ingredient lists on every packet of food you think about eating isn’t something I would recommend to anyone.

What really struck me wasn’t the nutritionists and dietitians saying how what the likes of Freelee are preaching is a load of rubbish, because I expected that. It was the interview Grace did with the ‘wellness blogger’ Natasha Corrett who has brought out a series of cook books promoting the ‘alkaline diet’ under the company name ‘Honestly Healthy’. She was asked a simple enough question, or rather a statement about a doctor’s view on pH balance in the body, and immediately said she wasn’t going to answer it.

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If that doesn’t ring enough alarm bells, then certainly the fact that Natasha’s co-author and ‘nutritionist’ adviser Vicky Egerton was inspired by Robert Young; a man who Natasha herself says she won’t answer any questions on because he’s just been arrested… for practicing medicine without a license. And he’s the father of the diet that Natasha is promoting!? How can we really trust anything that these essentially unqualified people are telling us?

We can’t.

So no ‘clean eating’ for me. Just more fruits and veggies and less veg lasagne ready meals. Do your own research, don’t follow the advice of just one or two people on the internet because they look amazing and their lives seem perfect.

I highly recommend watching the documentary; it really is food for thought! 😉

 

Review – Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

In short – I love it. Looove it. Amazing.

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I was so excited to make this purchase. I’ve been wanting it for so long and it finely felt like the right time to treat myself to it.

The packaging is gorgeous; of course, it’s a Too Faced product, so it has gone on my shelf, in the section I like to call ‘make up packaging that was too pretty, and I spent too much money on, to bin’.

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Look how pretty! Anyway, on to the actual product.

It goes on really easily, very few clumps, provides loads of length and loads of volume. I love the shape of the brush, the hourglass, it really does make it easy to coat all of the lashes and provide all of that volume.

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If you don’t have £19 to spare to spend on a mascara though, I don’t think it’s quite beaten the Soap and Glory Thick and Fast mascara, I think it’s on par. The latter is £10.50, so it’s not exactly cheap, but in my opinion it’s whether you think the beautiful packaging is worth the extra £8.50, in the end.

9.5/10, so, Too Faced…

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…yes it was, thank you 😉

Foundation Review: GOSH Foundation Drops

I’ve been on the hunt for a MAC Studio Fix replacement for ages now. I’ve started with high street brands, cause it would be nice to find a budget AND cruelty free alternative.

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This is the first high street foundation that comes close to my actual skin tone. Usually they’re just too dark or too orange.
The texture is really thin (hence drops) which makes it quite greasy, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to someone with oily skin. For my combination skin though,  it’s great once I’ve applied powder. It’s also not suitable to be applied with a stippler brush, I use a sponge.
The liquidyness also means coverage is buildable, though you would need to use quite a lot for full coverage.
It lasts really well, tried and tested on several shifts serving in a busy pub:

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Before a seven hour shift…

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After a seven hour shift. (See also: Tanya Burr lip gloss in Berry Picking, only reapplied after eating once. Also the colour is amazing).

I realise you can’t really tell because the pictures are rubbish but you get the idea. Also, disclaimer, I did use primer.

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All in all I would give this foundation a 7/10. Very impressed. I’ll be testing out the GOSH Apricot primer next!

Recent Reads

Since finishing my degree back in June, I’ve been on a bit of a reading spree, only made easier by the fact my parents bought me a Kindle for my birthday in March. I’ve been making a list of books for a long time of what I would read once I was free to choose (I love Oscar Wilde but my god he’s all I read for months and I was desperate for a change), and seen as the list is so long I should probably get back to reading and not spend too long writing this blog, so here’s my thoughts on a handful of my faves:

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My Kindle

We Were Liars and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Both fantastic reads featuring some of my favourite and most realistic characters in young adult literature. The Disreputable History is haled by many as a feminist YA novel;  it is a wonderful depiction of a teenage girl’s growing awareness of the barriers put in front of her by society and the academic world in which she is a part. I’ve seen people criticise the character of Frankie because she’s ‘obsessed with boys’ and ‘only cares about her boyfriend’s approval’, but isn’t that just a realistic teenage character, trying to find out where she fits in? Also, you can be independent AND a feminist AND want boys to like you, believe it or not.

We Were Liars has a twist to die for. That’s all you need to know; read it.

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

I’ve seen and heard so many people raving about this for so long now I couldn’t wait to read it. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the story itself surely wasn’t it. I’ve read so many novels based around mental illness in the past few years I’ve tried to stay away from them in recent months, but I’m glad I knew very little about what this book was about so I didn’t give it a miss, because it was a subtle depiction using beautiful language and storytelling.  I loved it.

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson

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On the cover of the copy of this that I read there is a quote that says ‘If you liked The Help, you’ll love this!’, and even before I started reading it I found it very patronising and a sweeping statement about two books about race relations in the southern states of America. I do love them both, but they are two very different books with two very different stories. They are also set two decades apart, with The Secret of Magic being set in 1946, and therefore post-war America provides the backdrop to the race hostility presented in this novel, compared with the tensions of the Civil Rights Movement in the ’60s which is the setting of The Help. Basically, it seems insulting to compare them in such a way when they explore very different issues and subjects under the broad theme of racism.

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

It goes without saying that, as a huge To Kill a Mockingbird fan, I was insanely excited about this release. Having read a few initial reactions from readers online, I knew that I had to detach this new novel from TKAM in order to enjoy it fully. However, after finishing the novel, I realised it wasn’t entirely necessary, as I feel as that I know the characters better, and they feel more human and fully recognisable. Atticus is not the hero everybody, including Scout, thought he was, and I think that, despite it not being Harper Lee’s intention, it is an indication of Scout and the reader’s mask being lifted. Nobody is perfect, and I feel like we all learned that the hard way through this novel.DSCF1180

Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee

The main character and narrator is gross. I hate him. He disgusts me. But I read this book almost in one sitting, it was so compelling. DSCF1179

All I Know Now by Carrie Hope FletcherDSCF1172

I’m so proud of Carrie. This book is a wonderful guide to growing up for youngsters and teenagers, and for people who have been through those years of their life and made it out the other side, it is a lovely way to 1) be grateful those years are behind you and 2) empathise and reminisce. Carrie’s writing style really is like you’re having a conversation with her, or watching one of her YouTube videos, making it a personal experience, which just adds to the list of reasons why I wish I was as talented and amazing as Carrie Hope Fletcher.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

I’ve literally just finished this book and my gosh did it rip my heart out. From the beginning the twists and turns will have you hooked, and the beautiful language draws you in even further. I read this on my kindle, but the cover is so pretty I’m going to have to get myself a copy…18047651Thanks for reading!