Vegan, Vegetarian, Fish or No Fish?! Who Am I These Days?

wp-1480011837054.pngI’ve had a lot of thoughts about this issue for quite some time. Am I a vegan these days, or a vegetarian who eats fish? At times it feels like you “need to know” and be strict about it, because if you’re not there’s always that chance for those moments when the “meat eaters” go after you and smirk at you that why are you eating this and this and I thought that you only eat some tofu stuff.

There’s this weird mentality that if you “only” eat veggies and want to be a vegan or a vegetarian, without bothering anyone with it, it still does. It somehow gives the idea to people that it’s their place to judge the choices I’ve made. What is it that that is worth the ridicule and why it doesn’t go the other way around? Is it that veggies are more tolerant or accepting of other peoples choices? Why don’t we feel the need to make a point of what the other one is eating every time?

I’ve had my own journey with food. I’ve had my own struggles with food and how it affects my mental health. I’ve had my own journey with almost toxic relationship with food and how I use it to either comfort or the exact opposite. I still see my body completely different than what it really is, because few times in my life I’ve gained a lot of weight and still have that mindset that I’m fat.

But on that journey has also been the joys food can bring, I’m very fortunate to grown up in an environment where I was offered the choices of many different foods. I was a “I eat everything” kind of person for majority of my life, I went to culinary school to become a chef. I’ve been that one who says things like “vegetarians are the difficult ones” and that’s saying it very nicely. I used to love a good steak. I was all about junk food and still have and probably will always have my deep rooted love for chips/crisps.

And I’ve been a very strict vegan, wrote about it and how it has benefited me and my mental health. I’ve fallen off that wagon really hard and now I am climbing back up.

This whole blog started partly because I watched a documentary called “Hungry for Change”. It opened my eyes with how much the food we eat affects our body and especially our mind. I still remember this one man in it, who spoke about his diet choices and how they affected his depression and I just had tears streaming my face, because it was like he was talking about me. That made me want to change my ways, I wanted to see if I could really feel that much better with so little as what I ate. And it really did. It made a massive change for the best with me. So why have I stopped and jumped on and off so many times in such a short amount of time, as few last years?

For me, I tend to still be a people pleaser and in a way respect what they’ve cooked and eat that, even if it’s not what I would eat if I would’ve been the one cooking. I’ve noticed a lot that it eases the minds of those people if you still eat fish, it’s like you’re not that weird yet or haven’t jumped on the dark side fully. But lately, with Christmas looming and me going deeper and deeper back to my vegan ways I’m finding myself questioning how I will deal this coming Christmas and all the food. What should I cook for myself when others eat the traditional Christmas foods, for example all the fish dishes that used to be the best part for me. And how can I sit in that table with my Christmas tofu or whatever I’ll figure without someone pointing it out like it always happens. It’s starting to get a little tiring for me that it’s the joke or the issue that it’s okay to make a joke about. And to be clear, I haven’t been a strict vegan for quite some time so in a way “it’s starting to get a little tiring” can sound funny to some who know me close enough, but it still does because it’s just stupid to make those remarks. But I also have to point out that when you have people in your life who respect or just purely don’t care what you eat, it does make this whole thing a lot easier. Still those remarks are nonsense and better to left unsaid.

Also, just like my journey with my own mental health and how food affected it, my mind has broadened over the years about how much what we choose to eat effects the world we live in. I started my food journey purely on selfish reasons, but the more you read and research, the more you come across with environment and animal welfare, it would be impossible to not see, read, hear those while doing your research. And it would also be stupid to close your eyes from all of it only because it’s unpleasant.

The last 3 something years I’ve started to appreciate the natural world more and more, it’s for the first time for me, became this sanctuary like place. It’s where I found my love for trail running. It’s where I’ve found myself after breakups or loosing loved ones. The more I spend time in it, the more I want to do something to keep it as it is. I find myself wanting to read books, watching documentaries and doing research on the internet about this all. And the more I know, the more I ponder about it all, the more I lean towards wholehearted environmentalist attitude, I guess that could be what this feeling would be.

So it’s not only the choice of foods, it’s where I choose to buy my clothes, my cleaning products, my everything. I want to make conscious decisions on not affecting negatively on this world.

Back to the diet choices. Since I moved to my own home start of July, my diet has been basically vegan with few instants of vegetarianism. I don’t even think about it myself, but I notice it every time I for example go to my parents where I tend to eat fish or cheese or stuff like that. And the last time I was there I was just thinking why am I eating this fish if I really don’t feel it to be right, for me? I think it’s the easiness of it all. It’s there so you just eat it. It’s the fact that they’ve gotten the fish because they respect you not eating meat. But the last time I ate fish there, I just noticed that this feels wrong. And since then I’ve thought about this and especially this coming Christmas a lot. I’ve only been a vegan for one Christmas before and back then I was a funny, not knowing enough vegan, so this time I would like to make an effort in what I would eat.

It’s funny how Christmas makes this all feel so current, but it’s about eating in most homes, it’s about gathering around that table and eating, a lot. Being together obviously too, but food is a massive part of it.

But so, what am I these days? A vegan? A vegetarian? Fish or no fish?

I would say that majority of my time I’m fully vegan, and going more and more back to that direction. Purely because I’ve felt the benefits of it in my body and like before, especially in my mind. But I also feel like I’m okay to make an exception if something is vegetarian and not vegan. I still don’t eat eggs, I did during the summer, but then it started to feel wrong again, it’s like this is still a baby chicken, no matter how I look at it. Now that I haven’t eaten cheese regularly anymore, I don’t crave it, and it was the hardest for me to leave behind in the beginning on this journey. And damn now I just realized that there’s going to be so many delish cheeses at Christmas! πŸ˜€ And that fish is in the past too, it just doesn’t feel right. There’s nothing different in eating a factory farmed fish than any other animal.

Few good reasons why I chose to decide that I want to give veganism a good go again and to refresh my mind of what I already knew, was documentaries like Cowspiracy, Food Choices, Before the Flood, books like Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer which really opened my foggy and forgetful mind wide awake. There’s loads of great sources to get some knowledge about this and other issues that are all linked together. And that’s what it is for me, the stuff we eat affects the planet earth and we’re already cruising here like it’s going to last forever and not stopping and thinking that will our kids or their kids be able to play in the snow or see any animals in the actual nature where they are suppose to live.

What I really loved about the book, Eating Animals, was that the writer didn’t sugar coat anything, but that he also wanted to offer the opinion of all the sides in the arguments, so you were able to think them through yourself too with that help. It didn’t give a one dimensional look on what eating animals, fish too, does to our planet.

I think for me the most important thing about this is, that you should do your every decision with the fact in mind that it will affect someone somewhere, whether you like it or not. And on the bigger scale those decisions are hurting all of us, if we do them on a whim or with no thought. That does not mean that your life is supposed to be extra hard. For me it means that I have done my research and that I buy stuff with that in mind. I use products that at least try to make a difference. Because every little change is a change for the better.

And like I was happy to notice the first time I went vegan, this time I’m noticing it too. I’m calmer, my skin is way better, so is my hair, I don’t have stomach issues anymore, no more gassy bloated feeling after almost everything, more energy, my depression is a lot more balanced, I feel a lot more tuned with myself, I recover from workouts faster, I don’t have those sugar spikes as I did before, the food that I eat actually does me good. And that is enough for me to choose this path, once again, hopefully this time braver than before, not caring so much what others feel about it.

I respect your choices, so let’s respect each other in every way, okay :).

PMA ❀

 

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Embracing The ME I Am Right Now

wp-1477852857055.pngIt’s taken me some time to come to terms with who I am right now, and how much I love the Me right now. It’s weird feeling, I’ve never felt this good with all of me and my life in general before. I’ve always yearned and hoped and wished for this kind of feeling and now I have exactly that in my life, made by me. I really feel that I’m giving myself a chance to really embrace who I am right now, no apologies or anything. Me.

Before I wrote a lot here, I journaled all that I was going through, I felt that it was the best way to get it all out. And for a long time it was, it was who I was and could stand behind with no hesitation. But lately, more so this year, I’ve felt that I want to take a step back with it all, with all that’s been in my life. I needed to quiet down my life, in all areas, to find who I am and be okay with all of it.

I’ve been about the less is more life for couple of years now, in a way searching what it means to me. And I’m on that path still but found out what it really is right now. I’ve read a lot, which means that I’ve learned a lot, and that has helped me with how I feel about certain issues and what I personally want to do to them in my life.

One thing that was massively important to me when I moved to my own place, was to be able to fully be the one who decides what products to use around the apartment. I remember the day I got the keys and went to buy some cleaning products and how happy it made me to be able to choose the ones I wanted, the ones that are cleaner and at least a bit better for the nature. Sometimes it’s that simple of a thing that can spark your being slowly back to it’s “who am I?” gear to the right direction.

I’ve also really started to think more about the food I am eating and what it does to me, but also a lot of what it does the environment. I’ve noticed that when I live alone, I tend to go back to my vegan ways. I’ve been pretty much vegetarian for a long time, but sensing how I want to go back to those ways that truly felt the best for me and my body. And that are truly the best for the world too. A thing that is important to me, as I feel that why should any animal suffer in any way for my satisfaction when it’s not really even doing that. I feel better and I’m not harming any one while choosing this, a win – win situation.

Back when I originally started my journey to better health, especially mental health and finding ways to feel better as a whole, it was a selfish want that sparked it all. It was because I felt and was overweight and didn’t like how I looked and how that made me feel. That was the root reason for my want to change. As the time has gone by, I’ve gone from one end to another and back again and to this. But what has changed that I know more, and it’s getting harder and harder to just push the knowledge to the side and keep going like it doesn’t exist. They say that ignorance is a bliss, and in a way it is, but at what cost. I’ve been asking myself that a lot this summer. It’s really easy to be selfish and only think of your own happiness.

I think my less is more mentality has grown to take over all areas of my life, and it feels really good. I find that when I calm my life down to a level where I am strong enough to really say what I want and don’t want, to make those hard decisions without doubt in me, then I get closer and closer to my true self. I’ve started to question my decisions in a whole new way and found answers that I didn’t think I would have the courage to say even to myself. If I’ve always been honest, I’ve really been honest to myself now.

I can say that it’s one of the best feelings in the world when you are completely happy with your life and You. Like I said, I’ve wanted this moment or feeling in my life my whole life, but I’ve also been afraid of who that me really is and how it all could really feel.

This is all a funny tangle of things, but it basically all comes down to me enjoying life in the simplest of ways. I absolutely love being on my own and just read or watch interesting documentaries or movies or some ridiculous reality show. I love that I don’t feel anymore that there’s something wrong with me needing that much time alone, because I’ve felt for so many years that there was something wrong with me. That me being really sensitive is a fault in me, when it’s actually a strength.

For me right now living and enjoying my life in the simplest of ways means that I choose to buy foods that are organic and good for me and the environment, to challenge myself in finding ways and products in all areas of my life to be cleaner, to get rid of all that I truly don’t need and keeping my home simple and uncluttered.

I want to challenge myself in ways that I haven’t before and take myself further in the search of Me.

Right now for example, I am challenging myself to find clothing brands that are sustainable and ethical, while maintaining the style I’ve come to feel Me. I’m not going to buy any fast fashion anymore, the only things I’m still “allowed” to buy outside of this challenge are underwear and certain sports items, if I really can’t find alternatives to them. The thing is that I’ve bought so little clothes this year that where I’m starting is situation that I actually need new clothes, but I rather keep wearing the ones I have now than buy something that doesn’t feel right. And I’ve noticed that the less you cave in the less you feel the need. I’m happy that my general style is very simplistic and classic in a way and that I rarely feel like I want to jump to different hype styles. But the main thing in this challenge is that I want to show myself that having this style is possible in ethical and sustainable way too.

I strongly feel that it’s good to consider the whole picture of our actions and not just what feels the best for you. I’ve found myself thinking a lot that if it’s important to me that I use clean skin and hair care products, and eat clean food, then why don’t I only buy clothes with the same mindset or all else we need in our lives. I don’t think that it can’t be a whole “deal” and that you need to be without something because of this mindset. I think it’s just more about finding ways to make it work. And right now, I want to challenge myself with it and show that I can do it.

What this all really boils down to is Me feeling better and better with less is more as a whole life mindset. Being 100% okay with who I am and not being uncomfortable to face my fears or insecurities. Loving the life I am living right now and not thinking jealously that why is someone else having this or that and why am I here just being bitter of their success.

I’ve found ways to find more peace in my life, from meditating every morning, to eating cleaner, being extra gentle to myself in this once again new chapter of my life, being active in a calm way, learning more by reading and really tackling that as it is a thing I absolutely love.

I’m happy that I don’t have to be the same person I was couple of years ago, that would be sad and also impossible. I am happy that I’ve gone through a lot of heartbreak and struggles, because that’s why I am the Me I am right now. What I can do now, is to live my life the way I really want to, not saying I’m sorry in every turn, setting boundaries with what feels right and what wrong and standing with them strong. I know that not all of my decisions will make some people in my life happy, but I have to put myself first and think of my own wellbeing as my number one goal. Because when I feel good with myself, I am able to be more to others and to this world.

You’ll be seeing this new challenging chapter here too, hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

PMA ❀

Arctic Warriors : True Northern Energy

IMG_5249Couple of weeks ago I found this amazing brand from Finland, Arctic Warriors.

And last Sunday I got the chance to meet the people behind it, and got some samples to try out.

So, what is Arctic Warriors?

It’s a company from the Finnish Lapland, specific from Narkaus. They make three different plant based nutritional supplements, in the form of gel and honey shots. All ingredients are from Lapland, old power plants that are almost forgotten.

The three power shots are:

Warrior of Endurance (Taistelija)IMG_5279A sharp kick of stress killer! Made from roseroot which is also called the ginseng of the North, and nettle. It tastes real, strong like almost gingery sharp and instantly kicks a bit of energy in to you. Roseroot is said to balance your body, before and after a rough day or a workout. It also calms so that you can take it before going to bed, if you have sleeping problems.

Ingredients : vegetable glycerol, nettle, roseroot. 4g package.

Warrior of Defence (Puolustaja)IMG_5280This one kicks the butt of flu feelings or when in need of a bit of help with your immunity. Made from angelica and nettle. Angelica is one of the strongest plants in Lapland. It has been used to heal scurvy and plague, so it’s pretty kick ass plant! Taste in this one is strong too, maybe it’s the nettle, but it tastes like something real and no processed taste whatsoever.

Ingredients: vegetable glycerol, nettle, angelica, northern sweetgrass. 4g package.

Warrior of Energy (Energia)IMG_5278

My personal favorite! Made from honey, nettle and roseroot. Possible the best energy gel that I’ve ever tasted or used, so good! Honey gives the energy you would need during your endurance training or just during the day. You can also make this delicious sports drink from this one.

The first time I tried this one, I really didn’t expect it to work that well :). I took it last Sunday after working at the Fair the whole day, I felt tired and sluggish and a bit like I have flu coming. I mixed it with hot water and fresh ginger, and wow! I got woken up completely and felt so much better than before. So I can really say that it works!

Ingredients: Finnish honey, nettle, roseroot, vegetable glycerol. 10g package.

All of them are really easy on your stomach and I could think of using them even when running for a long long runs, while your stomach can go a bit of woozy at times. I love that they are clean and natural, no nonsense. All ingredients are locally grown in Lapland, so they use the best that there is.

One thing that I really love, is that all the knowledge behind these are from old folklore healer traditions. One of the three behind the brand, is actually from old healer family.

At the moment they are only being sold in Finland, but when the products are this amazing, I am sure that soon they will spread their amazingness around the world!

http://www.arcticwarriors.fi/en/

 

Language Barrier or New Door?

Couple of weeks ago when I was in London, I really realized how much of an advantage it is that I can speak other languages than only my own.

As a girl from Finland, you will learn at least two to three other languages than our native. I can understand that that it’s necessary because there’s not so many of us in the world and Finnish isn’t the easiest language to learn in the first place. But you don’t think about the whole thing at all unless you move away from there.

I remember when I was about to move to Germany, that I was thinking that surely because it’s located in the middle of Europe, my skills will come in handy… But how wrong was I and how big of a shock it really was! Main problem was that from those four languages that I knew, German was not one. And yes, I moved here without any plans or knowing the language. Something you just have to jump and fly.

When I moved here, I was all stoked to learn German, but most of my friends wanted to practice their English and my German never got any where, and then when I met my boyfriend, well let’s just say that I manage to find the only one probably who is amazing at English…

Then when I got depressed and the real culture shock kicked in, I just hated everything about Germany, including the language. It has pretty much taken this long, almost two years, for me to start really wanting to learn the language. I’m trying, but German is not too easy either… But it’s better to try than give up!

Coffeeshop table

To the point why I wanted to write this piece is, when I was in London, one day we were in this super nice coffee shop and I was paying the most amazing RED VELVET CHEESECAKE BROWNIE! Sorry, but it was capslock good! πŸ˜‰ So I was paying it, and I was all confused about the English coins and was just messing about and just gave the whole punch to the nice guy to check it. He was checking my coins and was giving me some euro coin back and we were talking about them, and I said that I’m not used to pounds. And he asked where I am from, so I explained my these days normal “I’m originally from Finland but I live in Germany” thing. Note: I have somehow became all Finnish after I moved away from there haha, don’t you go and try to mistake me for German :D.

THAT RED VELVET CHEESECAKE BROWNIE!!

THAT RED VELVET CHEESECAKE BROWNIE!!

SO, we were talking and I was asking where he’s from and he was from Sweden… So, I told him that oh dang, I’m born there haha, and he asked if we could speak Swedish :D. And I was like, “SURE”! And there we were chatting away and then said bye and I enjoyed my delicious brownie with a huge smile on my face!

The thing is that I think I made him really happy with some Swedish which he probably don’t get to speak every day there, and he made me really happy by saying that I look more Swedish than Finnish, and if you know, then you know that that is a good thing to hear ;).

But I also realized that in my every day life I speak three languages all the time in someway. Finnish to my dog and to myself (thinking included), English with my boyfriend and friends (thinking too), and Germany as much as I can or have the chance. That’s two more than most in the whole world. At first I was a bit freaked out but then I realized how seriously blessed I am.

Another funny moment in London was at our shake out run, when lovely NBRO ladies were speaking Danish to each other and I could understand some of it :).

In Finland you usually know at least some English when you go to school as all in TV and everywhere is in original language. But this “normal” thing here, that everything is dubbed and you never even by accident don’t learn any other language is really scary and sad, and I think in many ways harming. Because the school system is different so you don’t learn languages in a way as we, and there’s 80 million people here on the same size of land that Finland is and has around 5,5 million. Basically, you never have to learn because there’s so many of you that well yeah…

But this also made me yearn more, as in move somewhere else where I can really put my skills to use. Let’s see what happens.

Oh, and the languages I know are: Finnish (obviously), Swedish, English, French and now slowly German.

I don’t know how you feel about this matter but I am interested to hear your opinions. So I would say that this skill set gives me new doors to walk through, I hope :).

 

 

I love you Hummus!

I love Hummus! I have always liked it but now that I am more and more into only plant based diet, it had become one of my favorite things to eat. With everything :). But buying it all the time didn’t make any sense, so I wanted to make it myself

I’ve done Hummus once before, but that one didn’t really go too well. Maybe because if you don’t use dried chickpeas but rather the canned ones, it can give you gas, sorry but that is true!

I searched for recipes and oh, boy there are millions… So this the version I did. Note… I made huge amounts because I didn’t thought about it before soaking the whole 500g! But I’ll give you a little smaller recipe here.

1 cup dried Chickpeas (will make around 2 cups once soaked and boiled)

3 tablespoons Olive Oil, extra virgin

3 tablespoons Tahini

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice

1 glove of Garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper, ground

1. Soak the chickpeas for good 24-48 hours in water, I put just a pinch of salt to the water. Then rinse them well and boil them for good 2 hours, until they are soft. Rinse them again and then they are ready to use. And all this soaking and boiling is needed to avoid that gas problem ;).

2. Put all the ingredients in to a food processor or a blender and mix well. You might need some water to thin the mix, I did.

3. Enjoy!! It’s easy and delicious πŸ™‚

Notes:

You might want to sautΓ© the garlic a bit, if you aren’t big fan of fresh garlic, or just leave it out all together.

And don’t be afraid to use water to thin the mix :).