Gunda – A Delicate, Yet Powerful Film

As my usual, I am coming late to the partay: I just found out these days that there is a new movie by film director Viktor Kossakovsky and the executive producer is (our beloved) Joaquin Phoenix: it is called Gunda, it has been presented at various Film Festivals around the globe and it was released on the 4th of June in the UK (16th April in the U.S.A.). Although, it was already presented at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2020.

I just finished watching it and it is quite the vegan movie: it is heartbreakingly true and honest. It is delicate because it depicts the lives of farm animals in a fairly free environment; it is powerful because the film manages to show the animals in a fairly free environment and how they would behave if they were left alive. The black and white technique and absence of music make it possible to get a full immersion in the lives of these farm animals. But I don’t want to say too much in case you want to watch it.

From the official website, we read that

“Where his prior film, the acclaimed epic AQUARELA, was a reminder of the fragility of human tenure on earth, in GUNDA, master filmmaker Viktor Kossakovsky reminds us that we share our planet with billions of other animals. Through encounters with a mother sow (the eponymous Gunda), two ingenious cows, and a scene-stealing, one-legged chicken, Kossakovsky movingly recalibrates our moral universe, reminding us of the inherent value of life and the mystery of all animal consciousness, including our own.”


And this is the trailer

Joaquin Phoenix and Victor Kossakovsky have partnered to make this film. Kossakovsky is vegan, and we know that Phoenix is a vegan and activist: with this, we can say that he shows how to use media to talk about the importance of going vegan. Read the interview with the two artists in the Los Angeles Times.

As we are already aware of how vocal is Joaquin about going vegan, I’ll share here the interview of Victor Kossakovsky for the New York Film Festival

Victor Kossakovsky on Gunda, Respecting Nature, and Filmmaking Ethics | NYFF58

Kossakovsky explains how Gunda is not vegan propaganda:

“filmmaking is a weapon a could make… I could make easily a monster of her and I can make angel. for example when she decided to kill her kid because she was not able…she knew he was weak that this kid was weak, she knew that this kid would not make it and as far as she didn’t have enough…how do you call it…nipples, right? she didn’t have enough milk so she suppose she knew she must make this decision. and if I were to make propaganda movie, “vegan propaganda” movie, I would cut it out, right, this episode, I will not show it because obvs it is controversial episode, right? Like, if you want to make people laugh here they probably will not show this, right? But I say I don’t do propaganda, I don’t do propaganda, this is… I’m not who I am to decide to… to judge her, I’m not there to judge.”

He also talks about human rights:

“We have been inventing horrible things [referring to nuclear weapons, torture, machine guns], we are like this. We are still not underst…we are still thinking, fighting about, we are still questioning like rights of people with god, we… what is this? we are still talking about it, we still not came to conclusion, we still talking about rights of women, rights of people with different sexual orientation. We still not decide at least we are not teaching a human.”

On the consciousness of killing animals:

“We will not make next step until we understand that to kill animal and to mistreat animal is the same as mistreat human and kill human, the same: it’s act of killing, nothing else. We allow ourselves to torture, to mistreat and to kill, we allow ourselves to do this. Doesn’t matter if it’s animal or human, we have to accept, we are able to do this, if we are able to do this then why are we surprised that there is still war, why are we surprised that they still fight in streets, why are we surprised. We… we know we are killing them, we know we are torturing them, we know we mistreat them and we do see and we play games that “we don’t know”: we eat every morning and we know it was just killed. we are killing three trillion fishes every year, we are killing one billion pigs every year, we are killing half-billion cows every year, billions, I’m talking. we are killing 50 billions chickens every year.”

On the criticisms of veganism because of religion or scientific reasons, he

“has bad news for both. If you believe in god, first of all, is written don’t kill and if you believe in god, you believe you have soul: in Gunda, you see she does have soul. But if you don’t believe in god, I also have bad news for you, because if you believe in evolution then evelution will not stop in human, then it will appear more cleaver creature more cleaver than human and might happen it will be more aggressive, might happen it will use our babies for Christmas parties to eat. just be careful. Let’s wake up, let’s respect nature.”

Kossakovsky also took the chance to point out the inequalities in the distribution of resources:

“Just let’s talk. and what we do: one billion people at the moment don’t have water, one billion people have no access to water at the same time we have one billion cows, which each of them needs 10 times more than human just to feed and to make produce for human. cows need more water than humans, we have one billion cows, but we have no water fr one billion people. And we have spent 10 times more water to produce meat.”

This film is really worth watching, so let me know if you have done it already or are you planning to.

Make the connection, go vegan.


Petition – No Vegan Trademark to the Vegan KitKat

Hi everybody! This is just a quick post in between posts: there is this petition asking the Vegan Society to withdraw the vegan trademark from Nestlé’s vegan KitKat.

Just perfect timing with what I was saying in my last post: Nestlé doesn’t have anything vegan about it so their products shouldn’t be approved by the Vegan Society, no vegan trademark should be conceded to them. It is true they are pledging to “minimize animal testing for conventional foods” (meaning that they are still testing on animals for non-conventional foods), their working practices are far from respectful of the employees and the environment.

The guys at Global Vegan explain everything in detail. Have a read, sign and share!

Will speak soon, and as always

Go vegan!

Vegan vs Plant-based

In this post, I am going to explain a bit more in-depth the difference between “Vegan” and “Plant-based”. Probably you think that these terms are synonyms but they are not: here I am telling you why, hopefully making your life a bit easier in identifying what is vegan and what is plant-based. I know it seems like I am repeating myself and it might be, but, you know, repetita iuvant (which translates literally to ‘repetition does good’).

Let’s give some sense to these words:

Vegan = Someone who doesn’t consume any product derived from animals, in all aspects of their lives from food to clothing, to make-up and beauty etc.: no animal products whatsoever. It is not only a diet but also a lifestyle and a philosophy. The idea behind it is that there is no need to exploit animals in order for us to live. But it doesn’t stop here: the abuse that a vegan doesn’t encourage for the animals applies to also people and the environment because, usually the industries like fish, meat, dairy are not famous for having good ethical practices. Just an example, the meat industry is a barbaric business that destroys the environment, creating pollution (from greenhouse gases to water pollution – for further reading click here and here) which affects the people.

Plant-based = A diet where a person eats food that is not derived from animals. It is a diet, it can be considered at a similar level of omnivore diet, vegetarian diet, Dukan diet, etc.

We have already seen – here and here – that there are certain brands (like Coca-Cola, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, etc.) holding an almost complete monopoly of the food industry, with their name products but also through the owning of parent companies. And we have ascertained that they are not vegan for the animals nor the environment or the people. For example, there is a new version of KitKat being advertised as vegan. But they are owned by Nestle which is definitely not vegan. So, they should actually be advertised as plant-based.

There are also many clothing brands that are advertising themselves, or some of their products, as vegan as they don’t use materials derived from animals. But, again, while these products don’t contain they come from brands that are not actually vegan and uses wool, leather, feathers etc in their other products. Examples are provided by the clothes and shoes produced by brands like Adidas and Nike: while some of their products might be made without the use of animal products, they both have issues on matter of ethical treatment of employees, animals and the environment (you can find information on Adidas and Nike here and here).

Similarly, on the matter of make-up and beauty products, we enter that universe controlled by L’Oreal, Yves Rocher, Maybelline, Pantene etc, all professing to make vegan products while testing on animals (making such products not cruelty-free: which is another thing to look out when buying vegan beauty products and there are lists of brands that are vegan and cruelty-free that you can find, for example, on the CrueltyFreeKitty and EthicalElephant websites).


So we are getting to the main point, which is the ethics of the company producing vegan or plant-based products.

I know that now the vegans eating Oreos and washing their hair with some L’Oreal stuff are already fairly pissed at me. But I am only stating the facts: these products are not vegan because these big companies are not vegan, exploiting animals and workers and deforesting the Earth. True, their products might be slightly more affordable, but there is a price behind that and I don’t want to sound cheesy, but that price is ethics. Every time you buy some Heinz beans or mayonnaise or whatever, you are financing a system that is exploiting the exploitable. This is not a criticism, only something that should be taken into consideration. Especially if we want the end to animal suffering, better working conditions and a cleaner world: whenever you can, shop locally, look if there are food cooperatives that get their fruit&veg from the local farms, look up for those smaller online shops that are selling trusted vegan products. In the beginning, it will be difficult, but we are in 2021 and there really are so many options.

This has been since I started transitioning to my vegan lifestyle: it has been hard, but I hacked the best ways to get real vegan food. When I moved to the UK I had to start all over: while I was looking for jobs (but also while I was waiting tables or worked in a bar) I couldn’t afford to get to the farmers’ market, but I was still avoiding these big companies by going to the supermarket late in the evening to get food at very reduced prices, buying clothes at the charity shops (going to TK Maxx for a treat, but obviously being extra careful to all the label products). Only now that I am in a good job I can finally sit and look for alternatives to the supermarkets & Co. So it is possible, it takes time and some patience, but it is doable.

“White Veganism”

However, this point raises the issue of “white veganism”, one of the criticisms made to vegans/plant-based people: in short, this critique says that those that can afford to be vegan are mostly white people from the northern hemisphere and that veganism is linked to colonisation, making it difficult for BIPOC and people in the southern hemisphere to be vegan because either vegan products exploit immigrants and those living south of the Equator or because the prices of vegan products are inaccessible to BIPOCs.

I think it has already been made clear that if one is vegan (see above) they will have a care not only for the well-being of the animals but also of the environment which means people too. Here, I can quite agree with the critique of white veganism as a diet is a consequence of colonialism: the big multi-national companies that are deforesting the Amazon forest and exploit indigenous people to plant palm oil and to build intensive farms are indeed the fruit of colonisation (also if I were you, I would read this article). But these companies are not vegan. They have some products that are plant-based, but not vegan. So I would like to redirect the critique of white veganism to actually a “white plant-based movement”. The same movement that sponsors the consumption of Impossible Foods (see why Impossible Foods Ltc is not vegan), Beyond Meat and all those meat-alternative companies that advertise making ultra-processed plant-based food at such high prices, making it really Impossible for people on low income to buy them. A vegan can live with pasta, rice, legumes, fruit and vegetables and have a balanced, healthy and affordable diet. And you can make a lot of meat-alternatives by yourself (casually dropping some recipes for tofu and seitan to make at home)!

It should also be argued that those talking about white veganism never mention that the meat industry takes away a big chunk of subsidies and that actually a redistribution of resources would help in having good fruit&veg at cheaper prices while also being organic.

To Summarise

Behind veganism there is an idea that no sentient being, nor the environment, should be exploited: it is with this optic that we look at the practices of big companies and discern what is vegan and what is not. While what vegans eat is a plant-based diet, it is much more than this. Also, no one is perfect and we are all trying our best.

If you have any thoughts on this let me know in the comments down below.

See you for the next post!

Further readings:

Environmental Impact of Meat Consumption – University of British Columbia

Is eating meat bad for the environment? Future Learn

Why do we need alternative sources of protein? – Future Learn

JBS Meat Processor USA – Shop Ethical

10 Major Companies Responsible for Deforestation –

UK farmers prepare for overhaul to farm subsidies after Brexit – Financial Times

Good On You

Reading Challenge

I got the idea for this challenge while talking with a friend: he was thinking of attending a literature course of 10 weeks, and part of it consisted of reading 5 books selected for said course, meaning that he would have had to read 5 books in 10 weeks. Now, the whole thing of reading something a list of books in a set time, reminded me way too much of school times when you had to read specific books during the summer holidays, so I had no real interest in the course my friend was talking about (too much of a free spirit here!). But I really liked the idea of having a set time to read some books: I love a nice challenge, and I love challenging myself in doing something (also kind of competitive, here).

A Bit Of Background

I have always been an avid reader, often preferring reading to go out playing with the other kids (having being bullied a lot as a kid, books were offering an oasis of peace and a break from the outer world). Long story short, the past two years I have been unable to read much (it took me 4 months to finish Middlemarch despite loving every page of it!) because I was focusing a lot on gaining a professional registration. And I really missed reading, diving deep into other worlds, other stories, learning new stuff thanks to non-fiction books, etc.

It is true that when one has spent after several hours focussing on work it is oh so easy to just collapse on the sofa or on the bed binge-watching all that TV has to offer. Same goes for the weekend because you need to recharge from the past week and at the same time you have to mentally prepare for the week ahead.

Hence this Challenge

If you, like me, are someone who likes to read but have been putting off that pile of books for a while, for a reason or for another – life happens -; or maybe you have been reading but not at your usual pace, so you want to go back to your rhythm; or perhaps you just want to start reading. Then this challenge is for you!

How It Works

The idea is to read 5 books in 10 weeks. “Which books?” you may ask. Well, that’s up to you, there are no restrictions on genres, on fiction or non-fiction, comic books, audiobooks: anything that inspires you, go for it!

All you need to do is to dedicate at least 30 minutes to reading, that’s all that this challenge is asking you. Any time during the day: being first thing in the morning during breakfast, or at lunchtime or in the evening. I personally feel that I can better commit to this challenge in the evening, after dinner: I usually watch something during my dinner (one episode of some show), then that’s it, I start to read. But I tell you, 30 minutes fly very quickly and I end up reading for the next 2-3 hours and being late for sleepy time!

There are so many benefits that you gain from reading: it ameliorates your vocabulary, helps to relieve stress, improve sleep and much more (you can read some more here and here)! Plus you learn stuff by reading non-fiction books (from biographies to science/history/philosophy/art/and so on books), you get into different worlds (from utopian to dystopian ones, from places in the outer space to fantastic worlds), but most importantly you’ll have a great time.

To Summarise

Choose your first book (physical, electronic, audiobook, comic, etc.), open it and start reading those first lines – letting yourself go into the world you chose for these first two weeks. Remember, the main purpose of this challenge is to enjoy yourself!

Let me know if you want to start the challenge, which book you chose as your first, or just if you’re thinking of starting it: I’ll be here if you need any help.

Talk to you soon!

Update on the Challenge

So, I started this challenge on the 25th of March, ending it the 27th of May. It has been great having a little push to read at the end of the day: as I said in the original post, a challenge of the sort would help you going back into your reading habits or even developing some new ones. Give it a try and let me know in the comments if you are taking part in it!

Following are the books I read:

  • Human Universe – Brian Cox Brilliant. loved it. Cox explains scientific stuff with ease and lightly so that even a person with little to no scientific knowledge (see, me) can follow and understand what he’s writing about;
  • 1984 – George Orwell. Creepingly beautiful. So on point with some of the ideals of that dystopia, it makes you think a lot about how the world. However, I would read it paired with Brave New World by Aldous Huxley because that is another dystopic worldview that again has some ideals quite close to what some people are advocating about. And once you have read the two, go and give a read to the letter Huxley sent Orwell after the latter sent 1984 to him: it is really an enjoyable short piece with such an interesting exchange of ideas between these two brilliant minds.
  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Noah Harari. Another book that I really enjoyed. Harari deals with big themes like Religion and Immigration, then going into arguing what the values of the future could be. It
  • The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton. Loved it. There is not much to say: if you like parallel universes, time travel and lots of thrills and mysteries this is for you. Oh, and there are a couple of twists in there!
  • The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe – Steven Novella et al. This one was difficult to read. I like critical thinking, I am quite the advocating for it, but I am unsure about this book.
  • The Priory Of The Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon. Absolutely brilliant. A good all-female fantasy

I also tried The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, but I couldn’t pass the first 10 pages. There is a very detailed description of the birthing of a dead foetus. No thanks. I am sorry I couldn’t go past it, and I didn’t want to chance reading about something like that again later on in the book.

I hope this will inspire you to read. And remember, even reading one book (remember, any format!) will be very beneficial to everything, from stress and anxiety release to improve your mental health.

Happy reading! 🙂

A Catch-Up (a.k.a. What happened since my last post)

It is almost three months that I haven’t published anything here *horrified face emoji*: I did start the research for a couple of posts, but we all know that life happens, I have a full-time job that for almost 2 months required some of my personal time which translated in not being able to dedicate much attention to this blog. And honestly, retrospectively, that wasn’t even necessary: it is just my weirdly wired brain that wants to finish something once it is started, especially if it is work-related. Trying to look at it in a positive way, although the extra time I spent on that project for work wasn’t really necessary, I learned some new skills (i.e. editing videos) and also enjoyed exploring a bit more with my creativity in the graphic design area (I am not a creative person, but as they say “practice makes perfect” and -very- little by little I feel more confident in my graphic design creations).

Anyway, during these three months, I finished the Reading Challenge: I thought (a bit cockily) that it would have been a challenge on the easy side, but I managed the 5 books plus an extra one just in time for the end of the 10th week. It probably would have been a bit easier if it weren’t for work taking more time than expected, but still, I am very happy with having finished the challenge. I will update that post with the books I have read 🙂

Another thing that happened during this time, was that I took part in a Women’s Circle. For those of you who don’t know it, a Women’s Circle is a physical or virtual space where a group of women meet and share thoughts and experiences, without judgement. It would usually be done in a physical space (i.e. studio or park), but because of guidelines and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all met via GoogleMeet. The Circle in which I took part, was organised and lead by La Noce Cosmica, an educator who specialised in the menstrual circle and expert of feminine and masculine cyclicalities (but I’ll have the honour of having a guest post by the same where she will explain everything much better than me, so stay tuned for that!). The experience has been intense, uplifting and regenerating. I didn’t know what to expect because this was my first Women’s Circle, but you could feel the energy coming from the virtual space, the connection to the other women and the liberating freedom of talking without prejudices about personal and intimate experiences like your menstrual circle, was leaving me revived after the Circle. The topics covered were not only about menstruation, but an umbrella of related matters, from birthing to the relation with our mothers and all that is female. But enough about this! We will have the founder of La Noce Cosmica, Anna, as a guest blogger where she’ll explain what she does, why participating in a Women’s Circle and also about the process of the Limpia.

And this is the next thing I have done in this time, also connected to the Women’s Circle. It came out during one of the meetings, La Limpia is a kind of purifying diet, where for 50 days it requires drinking some herbs in the morning and excluding all the processed foods in order to detoxify all your body and the menstrual blood. The aim to have clean menstrual blood (without considering the already beneficial effects of abstaining from eating processed food) is because, after that time, it will be possible to collect it and make a tincture out of it. However, in order to collect the blood, you have to keep avoiding the same food for the 50 days until you get to the second circle after you finished the 50 days. Why collecting your menstrual blood? I find it that it is a very good way to be more in touch with your own body and what it produces and that’s what was very appealing to me. There are a lot of women that can be easily put off by body-related stuff, especially their blood, and maybe this could be something that could intrigue them and perhaps such a ritual could make them a bit more at ease and in sync with themselves. From my side, I can tell you that I have enjoyed the detox process, although I haven’t got to the collection of the menstrual blood because while I finished the 50 days, I had to attend a wedding back in my home country which meant spending time with my parents and being fed some absolutely delicious food that was not part of the diet and it would have defeated the purpose of the blood collection. However, this is something that I will do in October as Spring and Autumn are the best periods to do this thing. But, again, this is a topic better explained by Anna, so I’ll leave it to her.

Apart from all this, I have been recharging from work, reading more (but also re-watching some comedies on Netflix because you know the sense of comfrot that it gives you watching something that you already know), doing my daily yoga practice, experimenting with some vegan-macrobiotic recipes and cuddling my cat. Two new posts are already in the oven, so be ready to read all about it!

Bye for now and always, Go Vegan 🙂