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#10 – I wonder if people realise…

4 Jan

that even though dairy products contain calcium, they in fact strip the body of calcium in much the same way that drinking a cup of coffee leaves you dehydrated. Don’t believe me?

The countries with the highest consumption of milk and other dairy products (United States, Sweden, New Zealand) also have the highest levels of osteoporosis.  But how can this be?  We have been told that more milk equals less bone loss.  Dr. Mark Hegsted of Harvard University says, “people in the US and Scandinavian countries consume more dairy products that anywhere in the world, yet have the highest rates of osteoporosis.” We see a similar phenomenon with countries that have high animal protein to vegetable protein rations – higher rate of hip fractures and osteoporosis.  Then there are the numerous studies show countries that use almost no dairy products (Hong Kong) or that consume a higher percentage of total calories from vegetable sources have much lower hip fracture rates due to osteoporosis as well as lower rates of cancer and heart disease.

Don’t believe everything advertising has told you about health!


Garbage Warrior

3 Nov

This guy is a pioneer in sustainable architecture and environmentally friendly housing. He built the first “desert houses” in New Mexico in the 1970’s. Really cool doco. This is the full film. Watch it next time you’ve got some spare time.

#8 – I wonder if people realise…..

20 Jul

That chia seeds contain 6 times more calcium than cow’s milk… and that contrary to what we’re led to believe, dairy products are more likely to give people osteoporosis than to prevent it as well as promoting the risk of fractures and cancer. Cows don’t automatically produce calcium, they get it from what they eat: plants.

Also watch this next time you have 40 mins spare.

#6 – I wonder if people realise…

29 Jun

that the plastic waste and litter that gets washed down drains and waterways (particularly in the Northern hemisphere) ends up here

The plastic breaks into tiny pieces that are eaten by fish and birds as well as contaminating the water. If you’d like to see some quick vids to learn more please watch this and this. I also highly recommend this documentary. It’s free to watch it.

#5 – I wonder if people realise…

24 Jun

just how evil supermarkets really are…

I avoid them at all costs.

#3 – I wonder if people realise…

15 Jun

just how much food is wasted in this country…

Animal Products

26 Mar

I’ve been avoiding writing about this topic for a while now but I’m not sure why exactly. Maybe to avoid being labelled as a preaching vegetarian or a vegan activist. Or maybe because the net is already SO full of blogs and websites about this stuff – and we’ve all had enough of it. Well fuck it. No more excuses. I’m not aiming to please on this blog so I’m just going to share my shit and you can take it or leave it. I appreciate you taking the time to read this.

So here’s my thoughts on human’s use of animal products.

The term “animal products” is something I’m quite desensitised to but when you actually stop and think about it, it’s pretty fucking gross. Eating, drinking, wearing stuff that came from animals – it seems normal in our society. I find it hard to imagine my leather shoes once being a cow. That’s because we’re programmed not to think about it.

Occasionally you may associate a cut of meat with the animal’s body part: ribs, breast, rump etc but even then it’s easy to detach. In fact detachment is essential if you want to continue to eat meat. Human’s are compassionate beings by nature. I’ve seen meat eaters brought to tears, turn away in disgust and become instant vegetarians after watching footage of animal slaughter for food production. I’ve also seen cowardly meat eaters refuse to watch footage like this or even hear THE TRUTH about the treatment of animals raised for food. It seems strange to me that anyone would prefer not to know the truth about anything – even if that means feeling something that challenges you. I spoke to Bob’s Dad just after I had finished reading Eating Animals and told him about the book. He seemed quite interested so I offered to lend it to him. He declined and said that he liked eating meat and probably wouldn’t want to eat it anymore after finding out the truth so he’d prefer not to know.
There’s only one word for that in my opinion: Gutless.

If you’ve seen the sort of footage that I’m talking about you cannot deny that the whole process feels wrong on every level. I personally have given up watching footage of animal slaughter as it does nothing to enrich my life and I have never encouraged anyone to do so however, if you are curious however (as many are) here’s a few tame vids to give you an idea:

I wasn’t able to find a pig vid that didn’t have the direct audio. The audio is usually the most disturbing part. Anyway I’m sure you can look further if you’re interested. Well let’s talk a little more about the killing process… most animals are “stunned” before being “knocked” by the bolt gun and having their throats slit (or decapitated in the case of birds). Stunned means that they cannot move but can still feel everything. In many cases, the animal is not killed instantly by the bolt and feels the full pain of bleeding to death. Pain that you could never imagine.

Now think for a moment about what pain, fear, anxiety, stress does to the bodies of any mammal… adrenalin and other chemicals run through the muscles/meat. I’ve read about fear and pain being stored in the cells of the meat and seen countless individuals become vegetarian as part of their spiritual journey and find that they can then easily surrender unhelpful fear in their own life. Coincidence?

It’s common for “conscious meat eaters” to only animals that are shot in the head outdoors rather than in an abattoir like kangaroos and deer (venison) or killed humanely. Personally I think that “killed humanely” is an oxymoron although I can understand the reasoning for these choices..

So, animals raised for meat live to die, we get it. So what about their life then?
Well it’s pretty shit.
Pigs and chickens are raised in indoor environments that are so far from their natural habitat it’s not funny. Pigs are kept on concrete floors in stalls that are only slightly bigger than their bodies. Their tails are removed without anaesthetic. They are not able to turn around, roll over, run, stretch lets alone walk on grass, cool off in mud, socialise or form a bond with their offspring. They’ve been selectively bred to be meat-heavy, grow unnaturally quickly and are given antibiotics to prevent disease. It’s a mystery why antibiotics are losing their effect on humans isn’t it?

Chickens beak’s are clipped with a burning hot blade. They do not see the sun. Their factory farms are unhygienic and pungent. Their 45 day life goes so quickly that often by the time they are due for slaughter they cannot walk under their own weight. Many chickens are so abnormally heavy that they go for days or weeks before slaughter with broken legs. It is common for chickens to go crazy in the light/fresh air deprived factory farms and attack other chickens (hence the beak clipping) and a high percentage of birds experience untreated infected wounds while on their way to becoming food.

So what about cows and sheep that get to run around free in paddocks? They have a great life, right? Well it’s arguable whether a life that exists purely to die and be eaten isn’t really much a of a life at all. Cows and sheep are forced to endure weather extremes often without adequate shelter and water. Why waste water on something that’s just going to die in a couple of weeks anyway? In fact all animals have to travel long distances, sometimes hundreds of kilometres to be slaughtered while exposed to the elements and denied food and water.

Certainly cattle that get to roam around in spacious paddocks and feed leisurely on grass have the most stress free life of all animals that are bred in captivity for food. This new wave of “grain fed” animals being a healthy alternative is a bit of a crock. For most non-organic meat, these animals are fed genetically modified, pesticide laden wheat and corn. And, err… why is this good?

If the food given to cows was instead given to people the 1 billion starving people in the world could have something to eat. I’m not making this up, it’s true.

So cows chilling in a paddock might have an arguably decent life, but there are other issues to consider… Like the planet!

40% of the worlds forests have been cleared for cattle grazing. Hello? Trees absorb carbon!
Cattle grazing destroys topsoil. Nutrient rich topsoil is essential to sustain plant life. Once it’s gone, it takes years to reform – and that’s only if erosion doesn’t continue which it normally does.
One third of the planet’s surface is dedicated to livestock. Imagine if that land was dedicated to growing crops of food for people.
Animal agriculture creates 40% more carbon emissions than all transportation in the world combined and is the number 1 contributor to climate change.

Do you need to read that again?

The highest contributor to global warming is meat/dairy production. Environmentalists who eat meat are a joke.

These are real stats – check em.

Getting back to animals having shitty lives, let’s think about animals that aren’t farmed for meat but for milk and eggs.
Let’s start with chickens. Battery hens surely have the most tortured existence of all. You’ve all seen photos of them, crammed into multi-level cages, no light, no space, no standing, flying or stretching. Just sit, eat and lay eggs. That’s it. And after 12 months as egg production slows, you guessed it… dead.
So you think you’re doing you’re bit by buying only free range eggs? Until last year the term “free range” was not regulated and could be used to describe just about any battery conditions, including hens that were kept inside but given access to a tiny outdoor area for an hour per day. This is now changing and the rspca give certification to legitimate free range eggs. But guess what? Even free range, organic “happy eggs” come from chickens which are kept purely for the purpose of making money and after 18 months the chickens reach their expiry date.
So even if you have your own chickens or choose free range eggs for home, whenever you eat out or go shopping and choose a product that contains eggs, you can almost guarantee that the eggs are not free range. A slice of cake, a bottle of mayonnaise… unless specified you can bet the eggs used were from an evil battery farm.

Now finally to the poor, old dairy cow. Their story is heart wrenching. Why? We’ve all seen the cute black and white dairy cows having a chilled out life in the paddocks next to the dairy. It doesn’t seem so bad…
The cows are continually artificially inseminated to keep them in a constant state of pregnancy/lactation. If you think human women have gruelling birth experiences, imagine giving birth to a cow! LOTS of cows! Then the minute after she gives birth her calf is removed instantly from her. Cows are programmed to care for their young and experience grief and depression in the same way that a human losing a newborn would. Male calves are slaughtered for veal (if you are a vegetarian who consumes dairy – you are still a supporter of the veal industry). Female calves are separated from their mothers “to avoid attachment” and are fed GM soy and corn as well as antibiotics and other medications to prevent illness.
How fucked up is that? The offspring never get to drink the milk that is produced by their mother for them.

Humans are the only species to drink the milk of another animal.

Here’s another situation where we’ve been brainwashed and desensitised to the idea. Think about it. Drinking the milk of a COW is fucking gross.
You would cringe at the thought of sipping on the milk of a cat or the milk of a monkey or even the breast milk of another human… but drinking the breast milk of a cow if perfectly fine?
It is common practice for milk producers to milk cows with sores/wounds on their teets meaning that blood and puss end up in the final product. And dairy products do not have to contain any information about additives, preservatives added to them during processing (in fact the same goes for meat and supermarket/non-organic vegies).
So milk is one thing but what about other dairy products? Cheese is SO far removed from it’s original state that it’s incredibly easy to forget that it comes from a cow (and rennet from stomachs of cows, sheep and pigs). The further away a product is from it’s source, the easier it is to forget about where it comes from. Cheese on toast may seem like a mouth watering, quick, easy snack but it actually at some point involved a significant amount of cruelty, not to mention a whole lot of processing and many kms of travel. Are you willing to accept that?

So why should we even care about these animals? Humans have been using them for so long that it just seems normal. Let me ask you this?
Why do you have a love of birds but have no trouble eating a duck?
Why do you protect your children and not respect the cow’s desire to protect her children?
Why do you love your dog and feel fine eating a pig? Did you know that pigs are more intelligent and more loyal than dogs? In fact they are more intelligent than 3 year old humans!
A question I often ask myself is: Why are there so many vets and animal lovers who are so fine with eating meat…

The answer is: selective information filtering and LOTS of conditioning.

It would just be WRONG to go to a cafe and not see bacon & eggs and cafe lattes on the menu. Would it?
I can’t imagine a Christmas without ham/turkey/chicken. Why not?

Excuses. I’ve heard them all on this topic. We get hung up on ‘tradition’ and can’t see past the ‘convenience’ of animal products. Considering the MASSIVE cost to the earth, meat production seems far from convenient.
In fact, while inflation has seen price rises in just about everything over the past 20 years, meat prices have stayed about the same. The meat industry uses low prices to keep us eating it. So who’s paying for the inflation? The animals living their short, tortured lives in factory farms and of course, the planet.

I haven’t even touched on seafood. This post is already long enough so I’l save that for another day. If this info has made you want to learn more or create change then here’s some books, websites and films that I recommend:

More info of milk
Eating Animals Book
Food Inc Documentary
Home Documentary
Food Matters Documentary

The baking soda thing

13 Oct

Ok so I did some tests and this is the verdict:

Baking Soda Rules.

I did my initial test – three days, no smell, all good. I decided that I should stop double dipping my armpit applicating fingers into the stuff in the cupboard so a bought a new box of sodium bicarbonate for $3.50.
I poured some of it into a small plastic container and added a few drops of lavender oil for a nice smell. I have now been using baking soda deodorant for over a week and I am hooked! It’s awesome.

When Bob first came home from his trip away for work I used the roll on again just to see how it compared. I couldn’t believe how horrible it was. All this gooey liquid in my armpits, yuck! Since using the powder I have grown used to deodorant feeling dry and fresh as it goes on. The roll on was like rubbing sticky jelly on my skin. That convinced me that I would make the switch forever.

Each morning I pinch a tiny bit of powder between my thumb and middle finger and rub it gently under my arm. That’s it. I use less than a quarter of a teaspoon in one application. I have estimated that my little tub (approximately 100ml) will last me over a year at this rate. That sure beats paying heaps of money for gross smelling sprays or gooey roll on whose packaging will just be thrown away and forgotten about.

I need less of that shit.

I’ve been going for three day intervals in between hair washes recently and I have been gradually cutting down the amount of product that I use when I do wash it. My hair is longer now than it has been in over 10 years and I’m using less shampoo than ever. Smaller than a 10c piece worth. I really don’t know why I thought I needed so much more. It’s really just a waste.

I’ve heard about people using baking soda and vinegar in place of shampoo and conditioner. I will report back when I finally try it.

Today I saw an echinda. It was so cute.
Yesterday I went to Mount Wellington and I filled up my water bottle from a waterfall flowing from melted snow. It’s the greatest tasting water ever.
My oven and stove are broken – it’s quite annoying. Goodnight.

The world would be so much shitter without you, Colin

29 Sep

Colin Beavan that is. You are probably like me and have never heard of him. And if you are anything like me, you will probably appreciate his efforts, his findings and his writing just as much as I do.

Recently I was in LA airport with a few hours to kill before my flight to Sydney. I had wandered around all of the shops and was trying to cure boredom while not spending any money, but was not really succeeding. I had already bought a copy of Dwell magazine, a milky way and about 6 bags of reece’s pieces (for gifts I swear).

I was feeling the effects of constant traveling and movement over the last two weeks. My body was struggling with just being in one place, that wasn’t bed, for more than an hour. I felt like I was moving even when I was sitting perfectly still. I needed… nothingness. I found a spot to sit by myself, listened to some relaxing music on my ipod and drifted into a dream, just being. I visualised places far more lush and peaceful than the grimy airport terminal and when I opened my eyes about 45 minutes later, I was completely relaxed.

Even though I was feeling totally at peace, I had an urge to walk… back to the bookstore that I had visited twice already to buy candy and a magazine. I wandered through the aisles of books with no expectations as I had already walked through here earlier and found nothing worth buying in american dollars. And then, there it was. Way up above my head on the top shelf, Colin’s book “No Impact Man”. I had to climb up on the the bottom shelf so that I could reach it. I did this without even considering what anyone might think of me.

The raw cardboard cover grabbed my attention, the blurb connected with me and after I flicked through a few pages I knew that I would enjoy this book. I decided it was worth an extra international transaction and read 1/4 of it before we boarded the plane, laughing and nodding out loud to myself.

Basically he spends a year of his life trying to reduce waste in his life as much as is humanly possible. Whether that be wasting plastic, water, power, emissions, anything.  Oh yeah and, he lives in an apartment in New York City.
It’s not like it’s anything ground-breakingly original. It seems that these days it’s cool to be green anyway. But the beauty of Colin’s story is that he is not trying to be rad or to have all the answers, in fact, throughout the book he confirms that he is just like you and me… someone that is concerned about the planet and climate change but feels that they can do nothing about it.

He proves us all wrong. He shares his challenges along the way and I connect hugely with his feelings of guilt when considering doing something that you know is ‘bad’. Sometimes it’s such a dilemma, especially when you take into account the old saying – When you know better you are expected to do better. Even if it’s only yourself that expects it!

This book makes me want to be a better person. I have become more conscious of things that used to be automatic, for example:

Bob and I normally share a container of roll-on deodorant. He has taken it away with him for a few days and I thought I had a spare one at home but I don’t. I had planned to buy one during my lunch break today at work and did not see that there were any other alternative apart from just simply buying a new one… until last night.

I was reading No Impact Man and Colin mentions that he has started using baking soda as deodorant. I consider it and then talk myself out of it before going to bed. When I woke up this morning I considered it again and then decided to stick to my original plan and to buy some today at lunch. It will get used right? It’s not really a waste is it?
I began to wonder about how I would go without deodorant at work until lunchtime. I opened the pantry and found the baking soda. This time I talked myself into it with the rationale that if it didn’t work I could at least buy some at lunch.

You might think that I’m crazy for rubbing baking soda into my armpits, but I tell you what, it worked better than any deodorant that I’ve ever used. I am going to use it again tomorrow and if it’s successful again then I may well make the switch permanently. This girl did. Read her blog, she’s awesome.

This got me thinking about not washing my hair again. I have major envy of many of the guys that I know who don’t wash their hair. I’ve found that with longer hair it’s alot harder to get away with. So far this year I’ve done a few week-long stints without washing my hair to reduce my it’s need to produce oil everyday. It works but it gradually goes back to wanting to be washed every day.

But today, my shampoo is almost empty and I’m inspired. Watch this space for an update.

So back to Colin… If I open the floodgates on everything I think and feel about this, we could all be here for a long time so I’ll just say this:

Read it.

I’ll lend it to you so you don’t have to buy anything new that comes in polluting packaging that’s designed to last forever yet to only be used once.


17 Jul

So far this blog has mostly been quite philosophical / spiritual / having a moral to the story or whatever. It was totally not my intention for it to be that way but I sort of like it. I’ve started noticing things in life that are perfectly appropriate, ironic or divine  – and of course I want to write about them.

So… forgive me. That’s just the way it has worked out up until now. I had hoped for this blog to be a place to post stories about my life and it has turned out to have a focus on things that I have learnt or realised. I think it will be a mixture of both from now on. But enough disclaimer…

Some of you might stop reading now – that’s cool. The purpose of this blog is for me to crap on about whatever I want  – you don’t have to like it 😛

Do I seem to be avoiding the topic?

I overheard a conversation at work yesterday where a group of girls were discussing whether a particular person in a particular scenario was ‘psychic’ or just really good at logically putting pieces of the puzzle together in order to ‘know’ something that didn’t seem possible.
I’m not a fence-sitter but I’m definitely a believer in both being possible.

So finally, my experience:
When I left Prospect I was running a few minutes late to have enough time to get to Lunch with Sienna in Unley. Somehow I just knew that I didn’t need to rush (in fact traffic decided that for me). I had a strong feeling that Sienna wouldn’t be there. Why did I think this?
It started with the feeling, or at least I perceived it that way…. I then began to apply logic to the situation even though I didn’t yet know the outcome:

  • I haven’t spoken to Sien since last Saturday – she could have forgotten
  • There’s no reason for her NOT to be there – Why would I think otherwise?
  • She might think we were meeting at 1 instead of 12 – so she could be an hour late
  • hmmmm
  • I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt & I’ll text her to let her know I’m going to be late

She called me.
She’d forgotten…. what day it was, and thought we were meeting tomorrow. So I was right. I didn’t have to rush. But why did I get that strange feeling on my way there? Logic or intuition?
It’s possible that logic had influenced my initial feeling without me consciously knowing. It’s possible that the feeling came to me another way.

I’m not really sure.