Why Dairy is Scary

I already briefly gave some attention on this subject in one of my Vegan Advice posts. But as there is still so much ignorance when it comes to dairy I decided to write a whole article about only dairy. There is so much information available nowadays, but still there are people who truly don’t know the truth about the dairy industry. I really hope to also reach those people. 

I want to tell you about the 3 most important things when it comes to dairy: Morality, Health and Environment. For me personally, the moral side is most important. Though you might find the health facts really interesting or you care more about the environment. It doesn’t really matter, because I think all 3 of them are very important. If you don’t believe me (and you shouldn’t, because there is so much false information on the internet), please do your own research. Let this article be a stepping stone to more knowledge about what it is really like. I always encourage people to think for themselves and to do their own research. Don’t instantly believe what you hear and what you read. You are the only one who can make a decision for yourself. Believing the dairy industry by what they say about needing milk for strong bones etc. is the whole problem to begin with. These are lies to make you buy dairy, so they can earn money, your money! So please think for yourself and decide if you still want to support the dairy industry after knowing this all.

THE MORAL SIDE
Let’s start from the whole beginning: Why do cows give milk? For the same reason humans give milk. To feed their baby. If a woman gives birth to her baby she starts producing milk to make her baby grow. This is the same for mammal animals, so also for cows. This is why the farmer artificially inseminate the cows ever year to make her pregnant. So every year the cow gives birth to a baby. In order for us to get the milk, the calf can’t stay with his/her mother, because it would drink the milk. The milk the farmers earn money with, so that means that as much milk as possible needs to be sold. This is why the farmer takes the baby calf away from his/her mum and feeds it a milk substitute. If you are a mother yourself, imagine your baby taken away from you within hours (up to 72 hours) after birth? Because this is the time a baby calf gets to spend with his/her mother. The mother licks her baby clean, she cares for her baby, feeds her baby, bonds with her baby and then her baby is taken away from her. They call for their baby and the baby cries out for his/her mother, but there is nothing they can do. The mother goes back into the herd and they all get milked twice a day by machines.

Then what happens to the baby calf? This depends. If the baby is a female she will end up living the same life as her mum. She is impregnated every year and every year a baby is taken away from her and the same will happen over and over again. When the cow is about 5-7 years old they will start to give less milk, what means they won’t be profitable enough. By this time they’ve given birth to 3-5 babies. Because they aren’t profitable  anymore for milk  they go to slaughter. Their tired bodies will be sold for meat. If the baby calf is a male there are 2 options: instant death or their bodies will be sold and called: veal. Male calves are not going to produce milk and so they are useless for the dairy industry. This is why a lot of male calves get killed right after birth. They’ve spent 283 days growing in their mother’s womb and as soon as they come out their life is over. Veal is meat from a baby cow. They can be as young as 4 weeks old and as ‘old’ as 26 weeks old. There are different kinds of veal for different kinds of meat textures/colours. Some get fed only milk to make their meat pinkish and some are weened quickly to make their meat look more red. There are even calves that are fed a diet very low in iron so they get anaemic, just so their meat is more pink.

By buying any kind of dairy (organic or non organic) you support this cruelty. For one bite of cheese or one sip of milk a cow died, a baby called out for his/her mother and a mother cried out for her baby.

HEALTHWISE
We need to drink milk every day for strong bones. Especially children! But.. do we? This is what we hear all our lives, over and over again. When you hear something over and over again from since you can remember, you start to believe it and most of us never question it. That is what you are taught, that is what everybody does, that is what your family has been doing and so that is what you know. Only it turns out milk isn’t as good for you as they say it is. It’s actually the opposite. Milk is not good for you at all and it’s actually bad for your bones. It makes your bones weaker instead of stronger. The reason they say it’s good for your bones is because your bones need calcium and there is a lot of calcium in milk. The problem is, this calcium can’t get absorbed by your body as well and even extracts existing calcium from your bones. Also, dairy cows don’t drink milk after about 9 weeks old and they don’t suffer from weak bones. Why is that? They get their calcium from plants! So can we. In fact, the calcium in plants can actually be absorbed by our bodies. You have probably heard about osteoporosis. If not.. this is a disease that weakens your bones. They get more fragile and break faster. A lot of people think they need to drink more milk to prevent this, whilst in fact you can develop osteoporosis by drinking milk. This means milk is doing the opposite from what they advertise. Osteoporosis isn’t the only disease you can get from drinking milk. Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer are all linked to dairy too.

Then there are hormones, antibiotics, blood and puss. For example, to make a baby calf grow into a big adult cow there are hormones in milk, just like there were hormones in your mother’s milk. All these hormones come into your body too. Dairy cows also get antibiotics, this is to prevent them from getting ill. A lot of dairy cows are kept inside all year around or only get to go outside for a few months a year. That makes it easy for diseases to spread. Antibiotics are the solution and even though most cows are not allowed to be milked for a short period of time after getting antibiotics, there is always some left behind and that all ends up in the milk they produce. Because of the milking machines and the massive amount of milk that is taken from the cows every day, their udders are often infected, what means that not only is there milk going into the milking machine, but also blood and puss. This isn’t an exception, but there is actually a legal amount of puss and blood cells in every carton of milk. Just gross if you ask me.

So why do doctors and health experts recommend dairy for strong bones and an overall healthy lifestyle? Because that is what they’re taught. Doctors that recommend dairy aren’t evil doctors, but they just don’t know any better, just like a lot of people. In their study doctors only get 1 hour of nutrition a week and often it’s very dated. You probably wonder why this is dated and why they aren’t taught the right information anyway?! Because, and this might be very shocking to you, this is how the government makes money. The medical industry is one of the largest there is and there is a lot of money going around. If people will live healthier lifestyles they won’t get ill as much, they won’t need as much medicine and so the medical industry won’t make as much money. Yes, this is how it works. I  know part of you maybe doesn’t want to believe this, but do your research and also.. just think!

ENVIRONMENT
Why is milk bad for the environment? Because of alllll the dairy cows. There are over 264 million dairy cows in the world. That is a lot of animals and they’re not just any animal, they’re cows. Big and heavy animals that eat a lot, drink a lot and poop and urinate a lot. Only 1 dairy cow produces about 50 kg’s of poo and urine every day. That is 264.000.000 x 50 KG every day.. do the maths. All this produces a lot of CO2 and it all goes into the earth. It goes into the ground, into the water ad right into the oceans, polluting our world. The world where we and so many other animals live on. This is the world where our children are growing up, where their children will grow up.. think about the damage we are doing to these amazing animals, our own health and our world!

ALTERNATIVES (where do you get your protein/calcium?)
Lucky there are so many alternatives that are actually good for you. You can find protein/calcium in a lot of plants. A few examples: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Collards (!), Beans (esp: Soy beans, Black turtle beans, Navy beans, White beans), Oranges and Dried figs. There are also a lot of plant-based milks and often they are calcium-fortified, what means that they contain a lot of extra calcium. A few examples of plant-based milks: soy, rice, almond, oat, hazelnut, hemp. You can also find a lot of protein/calcium in tofu and tempeh.

I used to drink a lot of milk (it was my favourite and I would easily drink a liter a day) and I loved cheese, yogurt and anything that had something to do with dairy. I still like milk, cheese and yogurt, but now I choose for plant-based options. They’re delicious and they’re even more delicious now I know that there weren’t any calves taken from their mother or cows killed. I can fully enjoy it because I know that it’s good for me and the world.

If you can choose between doing harm or not doing harm? Why would you choose to do harm? Please consider a vegan lifestyle!

Did you know all this about dairy? Were you surprised and do you look at dairy in a different way now? Do you have any more questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask me! you can do this in the comments below or you can also send me a private message if you like. Thank you for reading and I really hope that you consider going dairy free, X.

 

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ART: Maria Tiqwah

Quite a while ago I discovered the amazing artist Maria Tiqwah on Facebook. I asked her if she’d  like to be on my blog and though it has been a while since the first time we spoke, she still agreed to it. Lucky me and lucky you, because she makes amazing things. I think she is super talented and her work should be out there more! Maria was born in Boskoop (Netherlands), in October 1982. Already since a very young age she is fascinated by animals. Her first words (yes, before ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’) were ‘cat’ and ‘fish’. Because her love for animals, she always drew animals. That is also where her inspiration is coming from. She says: ‘Animals move me, amaze me and fascinate me. They make me smile and that smile I want to pass on via my paintings’.

In August 2011, Maria watched a horrible video about the bio industry. She decided she didn’t want to contribute to this cruel industry any longer and she gave the sausage, she just got that morning, to the dog of her employer. At first she thought that veganism was a little extreme, but when she did educate herself and found out what was behind dairy, eggs and honey, she became vegan. She only uses vegan materials to make her paintings. When she became vegan she checked everything and luckily it turned out everything she was using was vegan already. She only uses 1 little brush for everything. She doesn’t like to use 20 different brushes and 100 different colours. She rather shapes her brush in different shapes and mixes colours herself. For her paintings she uses a combination of: soft pastel, water colours (aquarelle) and a white gel pen on paper. She likes soft pastel as she can work faster and it gives nice bright colours. ‘The water colours are perfect for sharp lines and details’ she says and she uses the gel pen for the white bits in a painting. For the aquarelle paper she uses, she always has to make sure she gets the right one as some paper is made with gelatine. She used to use oil based paint and then she would sometimes work on a painting for 100 hours, within 1 year. With he technique she is using now, she can finish a painting in about 20 hours. She makes about 10 painting a year now.

With her paintings she wants to show people the love, beauty and individuality of animals. This way she hopes there will be more respect for animals. This is why she also used a few of her paintings to create organic, ‘Happy Vegan T-shirts‘. Take a look, because I can tell you, it’s totally worth it (+ worldwide shipping)! At the moment she doesn’t have any particular plans for the future, but she will be on VegFestNL in Utrecht (Netherlands). She was there last year for the first time and she loved it. So make sure you check her out when you’re there! She would also love to find a nice vegan friendly gallery for her paintings (Tips are welcome!).

Maria is quite a busy woman, because making beautiful paintings isn’t the only thing she does. She also runs her own green advertisement business. Some clients are: ‘Partij voor de Dieren’ (Party for the Animals – a political party in the Netherlands) and ‘Dier & Recht’ (Animal & Right – a organisation for animals). Last year she also published a little book with her paintings, called ‘En nu wat Vroluks‘ (direct translation: and now something cheerful). It’s a little book with her paintings, combined with poetry (from several writers) about animals. She also volunteers, doing some graphic design work for Dutch organisations: ‘Nederlandse Vereniging voor Veganisme‘ (direct translation: Dutch organisation for Veganism) and for ‘Melk, je kan zonder!‘ (direct translation: Milk, you can do without!). And if this isn’t enough yet, she also volunteers for Plenty Food. This is a plant-based development aid organisation that helps families in Africa. At the moment they have a project running, where you can buy a fruit tree (€12,50) for a family in Kenya.

Nowadays Maria lives, with her husband Raqib, in Istanbul. They fell in love in 2005 and in 2009 they decided to move to the popular Turkish city. For them it’s the perfect place to live, as both cultural and geographical, it’s in the middle of the Netherlands and Kurdistan (where her husband is from). You can buy her work, though she doesn’t like to send her paintings via the mail. The easiest way would be to come to the VegFestNL in the Netherlands (28/29 of October 2017) or to plan a trip to Istanbul! You can always contact her via Facebook or by email: maria@colourfulgreen.nl. At the moment she is only doing free work, but in the future she will maybe do commissions too.

Something Maria would like to pass on to you all:
Follow your heart and enjoy life, to be vegan in a non vegan world isn’t always easy! Also she would like to share something she finds really helpful herself: a presentation about ‘Sustainable Activism’ by Melany Joy.

I want to thank Maria very much for letting me share her story and art with all my readers. 

Do you like Maria’s work? Is it the kind of art you would get for yourself? Please let me (and Maria) know by leaving a comment below or via Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Animal Charity Shops

I really like that the second hand shops here in the UK are charity shops. We don’t have this in Holland. We do have second hand shops, big one most of the time, but it doesn’t go to charity. It such a good idea to have this, so you know that the stuff you donate and the money they get for that is going to a good cause. I like it even more that every shop has its own charity. This way you know where the money you spend there is going to. Now, the best thing is that there are also charity shops for animal organisations. I discovered that quite recently and I though it was so cool. I looked some up and I will tell you what they do. This way you can make a choice yourself of where you like to donate the stuff you don’t need or use anymore. Or maybe you want to take a look and make a purchase.

cpCATS PROTECTION
They rescue, rehabilitate and re-home cats. They also offering advice, give information and educate people who own cats or who are thinking about getting a cat. Cat Protection is run entirely by volunteers. If you want to know more about Cat Protection, if you have questions about your cat, want to adopt a cat or you want to know where their shop is, go to their website.

dtrustDOGS TRUST
Dogs Trust is the largest UK charity for the welfare of dogs. It already started in 1891! Today they’re active in 10 countries. Something great things they have been crucially involved in: the animal welfare act, breeding, dangerous dogs, greyhounds and currently microchipping. Dogs Trust is a huge organisation, doing lots of amazing things for dogs. If you want to know more about them or if you want to visit one of their many charity shops, go and check their website.

logo-rspcaRSPCA
Since 1824 the RSPCA is looking after the welfare of animals. They offer advice, microchipping, neutering and subsidised animal treatments. They also rehabilitate and re-home animals. You can report animal cruelty at the RSPCA. You can do this via their website or by calling (24-hour) of course. If you want to know what else they do, if you want to adopt an animal or check out their shops, go have a look on their website.

pdsaPDSA
This organisation provides animal care to the pets of people in need. They do this so they can prevent illness, suffering and death of pets. They treat sick and injured pets. They also educate people how to look after their pets. To find out more about what they do or to find out where to find their shops, check out their website.

These are only 4 organisations who have charity shops. Of course there are more, please check if there are animal charity shops near you!

Did you know there are charity shops for animal organisations? Are there any near you and do you donate your unwanted stuff here? Did you buy things in one of these shops before? I would love to hear about it! Please let me know by leaving a comment below. You can also tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram to show me! Thank you! X

ART: Elise Klinkert

If you read my travel posts about Holland, I’m sure you know that my mum works at hotel-restaurant Rikus. I always mention RIkus as I always go to my mum when she’s working. Do you also remember that in my first post about ‘Holland Groningen/Drenthe‘ I mentioned the artist Elise Klinkert? She makes beautiful paintings, from animals (mainly horses) and also people. Her work is some sort of dreamy and magical. I especially like the paintings with the horses, but there are also some people-portraits I really like. Always when I go, I hope there are new paintings I like and I’ve never been disappointed.This is why I like to tell you about her and her work. 

Elise Klinkert was born in 1967 in the Netherlands. She now lives in the north of the Netherlands, with her husband and 2 children. As a child she actually never painted. She was good at drawing, but she never decided to do something with it. She has always been creative though and designed and made other things, like jumpers, cardigans, teddies, lamps and even a wedding dress. Now, since 20 years, she is a stylist for fashion and advertisement photography. For the last couple of years she’s also been active as a photographer herself. Only 3 years ago she started painting and she feels that this is her future. When she paints it feels like everything comes together and this is what she wants to do. She is completely autodidact when it comes to painting. In the back of her garden she created a little studio. It’s very quiet there and she can completely focus on her paintings, whilst looking at an old magnolia tree and the birds singing in the background.

As a vegan I was curious why she chose to paint a lot of animals. But she actually doesn’t have a clear explanation for that. She loves animals and if something touches me she wants to translate that into a painting. ‘It’s that simple’ she says. For me this is a very clear answer of why she chooses animals automatically. Animals touch you, they’re so pure, honest and majestic. Nature and emotion are her biggest sources of inspiration. Most of the time it’s just that one moment, that glance or that right atmosphere she tries to translate through her paintings. She finds it very important in her work. She doesn’t make some sort of plan of what she should paint. She paints what she feels. This means that sometimes she started something, but then she doesn’t touch it for months. Then later on she will work on it again. It also means that some paintings will never be finished and end up in the hearth. ‘That’s part of it’ she says.

She mainly works with acrylic paint, but sometimes also with oil paint (like the ‘White Goat’ here on the right.) She definitely prefers acrylic paint, as she has difficulty with the mediums you use with oil paint. She also likes to use acrylic paint better, because oil paint is bad for your health and for the environment. Depending on the painting and her mood, it can happen that she finishes a painting in a matter of days, but it also happens that it takes months and that she does other painting in the meantime. Elise also does commissions, depending on the clients wishes. If you’re interested in her work, I recommend taking a look at her beautiful website. Here you can see all her art work and all the other things she does. At the moment she is looking for a nice gallery what suits her, so all she has to do is paint.

New York
About a year ago she notices an art competition: The Equus Film Festival Art competition! Everybody who makes art, involving horses, was invited to send their work. As she likes to paint horses and she does it quite often, she decided to send some of her work. She made it into the competition and was invited to join. The first round was choses by the public. Everybody could vote via Facebook. After that, out of the winners, a jury of experts picked the winner. Elise Klinkert won!! She never even dared to dream about winning this. It felt all very surreal to her and it was totally unexpected.So last November she flew to New York, with her paintings, to exhibit her work at the Equus Film Festival! ‘You understand, this was an amazing experience!’ she says. The painting you see on the left, used to hang on the wall at Rikus and I saw it many times. She couldn’t bring this specific painting, as right after the news that she was going to New York, it was sold instantly. The painting on the right is one of my personal favourites. In my opinion she totally deserved to win as I’m a big fan of her work. So without any doubt: congratulations Elise!

I want to thank Elise very much for letting me share her story and art with all my readers. 

Do you like Elise Klinkert her work? Is it the kind of art you would get for yourself? Please let me (and Elise) know by leaving a comment below or on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

The Way We Grow Up

As some of you might know, I’m a nanny. Recently I started to work 4 days instead of 5, so I can focus on Planet Manel more. Being a nanny, obviously means that you’re always in contact with children. It also means you’re always in contact with the things around children. You go to playgroups, music classes, libraries, parties, nurseries, schools, meet other nannies and parents, playgrounds, zoo’s.. I can keep going, but I think you have an idea of what I mean. I’m vegan now for a bit over 3 years, but only lately I keep noticing how we grow up in this society where killing and using animals is so normal. In fact, most of us are getting familiar with it since birth I would say.

img_6609A child is pure and honest. How can a baby choose what to eat? And though 2 year olds can be really controlling about what they eat, in the end, they can only eat what you give them. You can get a lot of critic raising your child vegan. People say that you’re forcing your child to be vegan. I see it the other way around. Feeding your child animal products is forcing them to eat animals and you’re teaching them not to respect them. I do believe that if a child is able to choose, it would not choose to use, kill or eat an animal. Children are naturally very compassionate towards animals. Animals are friends in their eyes, not food, not shoes and not an ingredient in their bath bubbles. Only a child doesn’t know most of the times that it’s eating pork or wearing a woollen jumper. There comes a point though that they find out that the mince meat in their bolognese is made of a cow and that the fish next to their chips is a fish who swam in the ocean not long before. For some children that comes when they’re 4 years old and another realises it when turning 9. Though, at that point, people tell them ‘it’s ok’. You’re literally telling them that it’s alright to make a difference between animals. To not care about their feelings or maybe to act like those animals have no feelings. Isn’t that unfair?

i-only-drink-human-milk-onesieYou are what you eat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much for breast-feeding, it’s totally vegan! Though, if the mum eats meat or drinks milk.. part of that is also going to the baby. Not only with breast-feeding, but already since the very beginning, starting in the womb. The body uses the food the mum eats to help the baby grow and to produce milk. This is the reason you can’t eat very spicy things for example, you risk the baby getting cramps. This is the very first thing what happens to a young innocent baby. Then after a few weeks or months a lot of mums have to stop breast-feeding for all sorts of reasons. So a lot of people will start giving their babies formula, based on cow’s milk. Milk what is made for a baby cow. From about 4 months, the weaning starts. First some fruit and veggies, but then also yogurt, milk, cheese, eggs and meat. This article is not about sugar and E-numbers, but with the weaning that also starts. A lot of children biscuits or cereals are full of crap.

img_5912That is all about food, but what about toys, books and education? How many toys are out there of happy elephants in the circus? Or the smily hippo’s in the zoo? Children are taught that elephants belong in the zoo, not in Africa. Worst of all, they’re being taught that the elephants like to be in the circus. But one of the biggest things that annoys me I think, is the farm books and toys. Children are being taught that chickens are here to give us eggs, cows exist so they can give us their milk, sheep are here to give us wool etc. Then I’m not even talking about the hypocritical way of pretending that the animals are happy farm animals. Then I’m thinking, how will the world ever change, if children are being taught lies? A few weeks ago I was at a playgroup and we img_6839had story time. The children were all excited and sat down, so the lady could read the story. It was about animals. Lovely! A lot of animals were mentioned, cows, cats, ducks, dogs and also a turkey. A beautiful gracious black turkey. Instead of mentioning what wonderful animals they are, she said: ‘we probably all had them at Christmas’! Everybody was laughing and some people started nodding. It made me furious and I almost wanted to say something about it, but I know that it’s not the way. People will only think of me being extreme and I would get the opposite result. It was a hard moment though. Nobody was thinking about what we were teaching the children here. Probably because these people grew up the same way. Where and when do we break this circle?! It was a very sad moment and it really got to me. One of the reasons I decided to start writing an article about this subject.

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-20-12-56About pets. I’m very much for keeping pets, especially around children. There is no better way to teach children compassion and love for the beautiful animals in this world. Letting them close to them and care for them is great. You have to admit, that children love pets too. A lot of children get excited about seeing a dog or stroking a fluffy bunny rabbit. But shouldn’t we also teach them how to keep them? Most dogs and cats are fine, apart from being teased sometimes, without parents teaching the children how to approach them in a correct way. If the dog or cat bites or scratches, the animals gets blamed. Weird. A lot of parents like to get hamsters or fishes as a first pet. You get a cage, food and some other necessary supplies and the hamster can live there its whole life. Some cages are not bigger than an A3 paper. It’s like a prison. Also a lot of times they’re being kept alone. No social interaction with its own species what so ever. I don’t agree with this at all. I have to admit, I used to have a lot of hamster and bunny rabbits living like this when I was a child. It makes me sad thinking about it now, but at that time I didn’t now better, I didn’t think about it. Now I am and I fishythink it’s important to get it out there. Hamster like space, they like running around, exploring.. and not only in plastic tunnels. This is just as sad as a fish in a bowl or an aquarium. Fishes would normally have the ‘whole ocean’ to swim in and now they have a few litre of water. Just because we want to keep and own them. ‘My child love fishes, so I bought him a fish in a bowl’. Not thinking about, that if you really love fish, you wouldn’t do this to the fish. Same as fishing. Fathers taking their son on a fishing trip, sounds all very nice, being in the fresh air, near the water.. but it’s basically teaching them how to torture a fish. How can the world become a better world if we keep teaching the children to have selective compassion? You should not pull a cat’s tail, but it’s ok to catch a fish with a hook through its lip. You should not kick a dog, but it’s ok to take away a calf from its mum so we can drink the milk. You should not poke a bunny rabbits eyes, but it’s ok to kill a fly. Maybe a fly sounds extreme to you, but why can’t we teach them respect instead?

img_6610In London a lot of little children are chasing the pigeons in the streets. ‘So much fun’! I never liked it and I never allowed the children I looked after. It’s not like they’re harming the pigeons, but I always told them to be nice to the pigeons and not to scare them. I always tell them to say hi and wish them a good day. Just a little compassion for the living beings we share this earth with. Why can’t we teach them to do that with all animals? A spider isn’t scary and a rat isn’t disgusting. They’re animals with feelings and emotions. They can feel pain and all they want is to live, just like us. I’m sure if we all educate ourselves, we’ll educate our children better. Teach them to only eat plants, to choose compassion and to show love and respect for everything that lives. We have a choice nowadays. Children are not only the future, it is their future. And so far children are being taught to destroy the world they grow up in.

What do you think about this subject? Do you agree with me or do you have something you would like to add or do you have something to say about it? Please let me know in the comments below! Thank you! X

Vegan Style Documentaries #2

fcFOOD CHOICES 
In my opinion, this one of the best documentaries around at the moment. It’s a very new documentary, as it appeared in 2016. I like ‘Food Choices’, because it’s a very clear and easy to understand documentary and a lot of important aspects are mentioned. It’s about animal cruelty, the environment and also about what a plant-based diet does to your health. It’s like an all in one package. After watching it, you have a very clear idea of what is happening to the world. You will understand that by simply choosing the food on your plate, you can actually make a difference: A difference for the animals and all the unnecessary suffering, A difference for the world we are living in and where the next generation has to grow up in, A difference in your health. If you want to watch the documentary, then go to their website. You can watch it via the website itself or you can order the dvd. Oh and it’s also on Netflix, yay!

hfc-2HUNGRY FOR CHANGE
This is a really interesting documentary. I’m a big fan of this documentary! It’s all about your health and how the food industries are telling you lies. About that the food industries want us to buy things and how they get us to buy things. They especially talking about sugar and how bad it is for you and how much sugar you’re actually eating/drinking without really realising. It’s shows you that everything is about money and that they don’t care about your health at all. They show you what is wrong with the ‘food’ available nowadays. It also shows you what it does to you and your body, but the best part is, they also show you what happens if you are changing that. A lot of interesting people are talking, a lot of you probably know from other documentaries or tv. If you want to watch this documentary you can go to their website. You can watch it via the website or you can order the dvd. But again.. it’s also on Netflix!

Did you watch these documentaries already? Are you considering watching them now? Let me know what your thoughts are! You can do that by leaving a comment below, but you can also tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

ART: Limppu by Laura Witick

laura-4Via Facebook I came across ‘Limppu’, the artist name of Laura Witick. I saw this beautiful image of a pig she painted. (My eyes always seem to spy pigs..) The painting really got to me. It had my full attention from the first second I saw it. I absolutely love it! It gives me goosebumps, makes me feel incredibly happy and it makes me want to burst out in tears at the same time. I think it’s amazing and Laura is a beautiful person, as she is involved in different animal rights organisations, donates part of what she earns with her art to all sorts of different charities and she is vegan. I really wanted to interview her and write about her, so more people will get to know her and can enjoy and support her work.


lauraIn March 1991, Laura Witick was born in Kokkola in Finland. It was right then when her father gave her the nickname ‘Limppu’, what literally means ‘loaf of bread’ in Finnish. Unfortunately he can’t remember how he came up with it anymore, but nowadays she still goes by that name. When her real name got mixed up because more people are called ‘Laura Witick’, she decided to use ‘Limppu’ as het artist name.

Laura always loved drawing and basically started as soon as she was able to hold a pencil. At first she only drew animals, mainly fish. As a teenager she also started to draw people’s faces and she was especially intrigued by drawing eyes. Until the age of 18 she only drew, but then she also started painting when she got her first acrylic paints set, gifted by her mum. Laura is a vegan artist and so she makes sure the materials she is using are vegan too. That means she is using synthetic brushes, acrylic paints from art‘Winsor&Newton’ (note: the colours ‘Ivory Black’ and ‘Payne’s Gray’ are not vegan) and canvases from ‘Daler-Rowney’ for her paintings. For her drawings she uses the pencils from ‘Faber-Castell’ and drawing paper from ‘Canson’. To see what other art supplies she uses, you can click here.

lauraWhen Laura was 6 years old she started Kokkola Art School. It’s an art school for children and young people. You would think it was something she’d love, but the unexpected happened, she quit after a month. She only wanted to draw, paint and mould animals, but because that was not the only thing they did there, she thought it was boring. Though a year later she did attend the entrance exams again and she got in, again. She went to art school for 8 years, but when there was only 1 year left before graduation she quit again. This time because she was moving to Lapland. It didn’t really upset her, as she didn’t have any interest of continuing anyway. Since then she never applied for any art school again. She can be very short about it: ‘I really love art, but I don’t love studying it’. Nevertheless, she did graduate from ‘Upper Secondary School’, ‘Visual Arts’ oriented and she has completed a Fine Arts Diploma in there too (5/5). She has also did several art courses in the ‘Adult Education Centre’ of Joensuu.

laura-2Laura is not just an artist who likes to paint animals, because she also has a Lutheran priest education and she’s a Master of Theology. She believes that God created animals for independent purposes and not so much for the nourishment of humans or for any consumer goods. She has based her views above all on the story of creation, where all beings are depicted as vegetarians. Laura tells me something else what I found very interesting. In her words: ‘Like the famous animal theologian Andrew Linzey deduces, the rule of humans cannot focus on killing or usage of any created being, because humans didn’t have permission to eat animals in paradise despite their rule over creation. The nature of domination is a protective rule. To act as the image of God means the ability of humans to intermediate the love of God’. 

laura-3Laura gets her inspiration from every day life. Most of the time it’s when she is doing something very irrelevant to art, like grocery shopping or reading a book. Any time of the day a great idea can pop into her head and when that happens she feels the urge to paint it. At the moment Laura is creating her first art exhibition, called ‘Mercy!’. It’ll be about the relationship between God and animals in Christianity. She hopes that her art gets more people interested in animal rights. She wants to make the world a better place, for all of us. She’s aware of the fact that it mind sound idealistic and a bit naïve, but I think that people like Laura is what the world needs. Now more than ever.

laura2Laura is self-employed and she also does commissions for a living. If you are interested in her work you can go to her website, her Facebook page or her Instagram page. She will have her first Art Exhibition next year in Joensuu from the 5th of October until the 30th of October, 2017. Joensuu is in Finland, unfortunately for us in the UK, but I’m sure it’ll be worth going. (Finland trip?) Keep an eye on her website and profiles so you won’t miss the exact date!

A personal message from her to all of you guys reading this:
Be nice to all! Peace and love, Limppu.

I’m a fan! How can I not be if somebody is so talented and then uses her talent to make the world a better place? What do you think of Laura and her beautiful work? Please let me, and especially Laura, know by leaving a comment below or on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Being Grateful

IMG_3589There are people in this world who always find something what annoys them or what isn’t good or what could have been better. I don’t have to tell you that negative people like that drain your energy. I personally can’t be with those people for very long, because I start to feel uncomfortable. I don’t know how the respond anymore after a while and also it makes me feel mentally tired.
Wouldn’t it be so nice if everybody would see the positive things in life rather than the negative? I think if everybody would pay a little bit more attention to the things that make you happy there will be a huge change in the world. Nowadays people are focused so much on success, power and money. They are all in a rush to climb to the top, focusing on their career, make and spend money, show other people how good they are and how great their lifestyle is. Is this really important? Does this IMG_9470make you happy? I think we should focus on all the things what really makes us happy. In my opinion those things which are most close to you and they’re often the little things. When was the last time you felt really happy and you took a moment to think about it and be grateful?! I think it’s a good idea, after you finished reading this, to write down all the things you’re grateful for. You can make the list as long as you want. You can keep it short or you can explain why you are grateful for the things you wrote down. I think this is a very good exercise to make you realise what you have. It could even be helpful in a time you need some positivity, but you find it hard to come up with things because you feel so down. Just read all the things you wrote down and take a moment to be grateful. To help you understand what I mean, I will share a few of the things I’m grateful for:

IMG_4285– My health. My body has it’s problems, but overall I’m healthy. Even though I got some health problems, I always try to focus on the things I can do. I’m grateful for being alive.
– My family & friends. I have such a lovely family. The bond between me and my parents is very strong and so is the bond between me and my brother, sister, nephew and niece. There is so much love. I do not have a lot of friends, just because I prefer it that way. But the ones I have, I love so dearly! I’d do anything for the ones I love and I’m grateful I have people in my life who make me feel like this.
– My creativity. I love drawing, writing, fixing, creating, designing and it calms me staring at a blank piece of paper in front of me, knowing that I can create whatever I want. Such a feeling of freedom. I’m grateful that I can feel this and that I am able to make and create the things I want to.
IMG_0696– My sensitivity. I must admit that this is both a blessing and a curse. Though I mostly like to see it as a blessing. I feel things very deeply, I sense things very quickly and my love is very strong. I would’t want to live in any other way and in a way it even makes me feel proud. It makes me a very passionate person, what can only be a good thing.
– Being alone. I’m very good alone. I do everything alone. I am grateful that I’m never fed up with myself, but always happy to be with my own thoughts. I’ve never been bored in my life, because I always have me.
– Being vegan. It makes me very happy that I’m vegan. I’m so grateful that I can feel compassion and that it’s so easy for me to be vegan because of that.
bigben– London. I love London. I love my flat and I’m so grateful that I live in this amazing city, where I feel so very much at home. Wherever I am in the world, I always feel euphoric whenever I’m back.
– I’m also very grateful for all the things around me. Animals and nature. I’m grateful that I can see the good in every animal. That they calm me and make me smile. I love the way they respect nature, it’s something we humans can learn from. Nature is beautiful. The bumblebee who zooms from flower to flower. The beautiful coloured leafs making their way to the ground on an autumn day. The refreshing raindrops on my skin. The silence in the middle of a field full of flowers. The first early morning sun rays coming through the window. I can go on and on.. 

IMG_4203This all doesn’t mean that you can never have a little complaining once in a while, because that can also feel as a relief sometimes. Just make sure that, wherever you go and whatever happens, you also keep seeing the great things around you. Or if you’re in a very bad situation, remember the good things. Think of all the things that make you happy. It could be a family holiday.. the inspiring feeling you had after watching this amazing movie.. the time you and your best friend had the best day ever.. that satisfying feeling you get when you wake up and you realise the love of your life is sleeping next to you.. or that time you climbed that mountain and enjoyed the silence when you made it to the top, feeling proud of yourself. Be grateful.. Being grateful opens your heart!

Are you somebody who takes a moment to be grateful for the things you have? Or are you going to do this exercise? Please let me know if it helped you realising how lucky you are. You can comment below or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

FLEUR & ROOS

13020512_1134885639888871_2003050333_nToday I have double rescue joy! Let me introduce you to Fleur and Roos, 2 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels owned by my best friends Jeroen and Nienke.

Fleur is 9 years old and was adopted 5 years ago. One day when Nienke was groceries shopping, Jeroen gave her a call to ask if she could also bring some dog food and a dog bed. He had been surfing the internet and found a dog available for adoption, not far from their house. That same day they went to have a look and there was Fleur. Her previous owner wasn’t able to look after het anymore for health reasons. They were very sad to put her up for adoption, but they didn’t have another choice. Fleur was adorable and of course they took her home. When they got home they took her for a nice walk and she seemed to be all fine with it. She is very calm and affectionate. They both love to have her company since!

12992832_1134885686555533_1871109432_nAfter a year they saw another Cavalier on the internet who was available for adoption. It was a bit further from their house, but they decided to have a look anyway. Roos lived with people who rescued abused and neglected dogs. The amount of dogs was a bit much at that moment and so they were looking for forever home for Roos. She was very sweet and friendly and so yes.. they took her home too! When they came home, meeting Fleur went really well and they are inseparable ever since. Friends for life.. real BFF’s! She just turned 9 in March, but looks much younger with her big puppy eyes.

They both have very different characters, but that is what’s making it so fun to have them, says Nienke. Fleur is the most cheeky as she regularly takes a walk by herself. Luckily she always came home safely so far. And Roos.. well.. she isn’t that clever, haha! She needs a bit of extra support now and then. Though she is full of enthusiasm and always comes running to you being all happy.

13022464_1134885669888868_527535738_n

left: Fleur / right: Roos

They both love to run around in the forrest near their house, to go for long refreshing walks on the Dutch dikes near the sea, sleeping with the cat(all 3 in 1 dog bed.. they make sure it fits, haha!), playing with the chickens and their mini pig.

They are also very child friendly and that is a good thing as their almost 1 year old daughter is totally in love with them!

Now and then they have a trim, bath and blow dry and they are ok with that, but the most fun part is to roll in a nice fresh towel afterwards. A joy to watch! They definitely bring a lot of happiness and it’s so nice to hear that both of them are living such a nice life full of attention and love!

Do you also have a dog you adopted and would you like me to tell his/her story here on my blog to inspire others? By entering you can win a small price too! So where are you waiting for? Please send me a message!

Don’t shop, Adopt!

12833400_1107495425961226_2137581699_nI’m a big supporter of adopting animals instead of getting them from breeders. There are so many animals looking for a lovely home. All for different reasons, but all asking for love and attention.
It breaks my heart to see all the sad faces in shelters or the advertisements of animals looking for a new home because of all sorts of reasons.
It’s such a joy to see animals who are rescued. You can see happiness and peace back in their eyes. Every owner of a rescued animal will agree that it’s the most satisfying feeling ever!

Under ‘ANIMALS’ you can find 2 other categories: ‘Adopt!’ and ‘Rescue Joy!’.

ADOPT!
To show my support for animals who are waiting for their hero, I will promote animals under ‘Adopt!’. You can send me animals who are desperately looking for a new home. Hopefully I can help rehoming animals from shelters or prevent them of going there in the first place. What do you have to do?
– Tell me the name, age and gender of the animal.
– Write a story about: why he/she is looking for a new home, his/her character, any details which might be helpful to find a perfect forever home. (child friendly, friendly with other animals, is on medication etc.)
– Send me 3 of the best pictures you have of the animal.

RESCUE JOY!
To promote adoption (and just because it’s so wonderful to see all these happy faces) you can send me an email with a success story. I will pick somebody every month and share it on my blog under ‘Rescue Joy!’.

What do you have to do?
– Tell me the name, age and gender of your animal.
– Write a story about your animal and the rescue. (max 500 words)
– Send me 3 of the best pictures you have of your animal.

I’d love to hear from you! Thank you! X