LIFE HAPPENS

Do you know the feeling when you are so busy that you forget to message a really close friend? Then some time goes by, and any message you could write isn't relevant enough - namely, you have so much to talk about that you don't know where to start and of course you don't have enough time to write it all at once... Then even more time goes by and eventually you are just so embarrassed and can't find the right words how to start...

This is me, right now. 

Life has gotten in my way lately - or I have gotten in the way of my life. I’m finally getting a grip at my new job - only it isn't that new anymore. For the past 3 months I have been working as the project manager of Taimne Teisipäev (Veggie Tuesday), our own little reducitarian campaign in Estonia - our version of Meatless Monday.

We ask restaurants all over the country to have at least one plant-based meal in their menu on Tuesdays, so that people who want to try living healthy a day a time can soon do it everywhere. We also encourage people to try new plant-based recipes by publishing a new recipe every Tuesday. I think I might have the best job ever - promoting plant based food and talking about a topic that I'm so passionate about.

Having a full time job and at the same time being a full time mom, going to the gym... needless to say that my blog has taken a bit of a back-burner.

Of course I'm still cooking every day and also trying to post on Instagram as often as I can - I just haven't had the time to blog. But now - feeling like I finally have my s*it together - I really wan't to correct that mistake and blog more often. I have so many things I want to share, and recipes you guys have asked!

You know... Life happens - I guess there is no point in beating myself up. As much as I try to get everything done 100% one person just can't do it all. And it's okay. It's okay to take time, concentrate a bit and then get back on track. 

I must say that cooking is still an everyday passion of mine. Whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed I cook a really nice dish. My kitchen is my sanctuary and food is my medicine. And I really want you guys to get to be a part of this passion as well.

 Today's dinner: A homemade burger with coleslaw, black bean patty, bbq mushrooms and little oregano potato wedges on the side- made with the help of my dear hubby.

Today's dinner: A homemade burger with coleslaw, black bean patty, bbq mushrooms and little oregano potato wedges on the side- made with the help of my dear hubby.


*This post is also a shout out to a really dear friend Rebekah who has endured my vanishing so gracefully - I'm so sorry! Love you!

VEGAN CAPITAL OF EUROPE: BERLIN

Over April's last weekend I was so blessed to visit Berlin for the first time. I went there for a plant-based food conference "50by40 Summit", held by ProVeg - an international food awareness organisation. "50by40" is a project initiated by ProVeg which strives to reduce the production of animal products internationally by 50% by the year 2040. I was so blessed to meet some of the most amazing plant-based food advocates around the world and learn from their experiences.

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Of course we also checked out some of the vegan restaurants nearby, and I must say that Berlin really is a vegan paradise. There is a vegan restaurant or cafe almost on every corner. Not to mention the wonderful vegan choices in the local supermarkets - which are surprisingly several times cheaper than in Estonia. I wanted to share some of those places that I had the chance to visit. 

Let it be - vegan creperie, burger and bar

This hip little place in Neukölln area absolutely won my heart. The menu was quite impressive: having sweet and savory crepes, different burgers, and even a hearty Mac&Cheese! The prices were reasonable and the portions very generous. After ordering a burger AND potato wedges I was so surprised at the amount of food I received. But it was so delicious I just had to eat it all. I loved that the owner himself welcomed us at the booth and I could see that he had real passion for his work.  

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1990 vegan living

1990 vegan living is an Asian restaurant with a Vietnamese touch. I had a curry with rice there for a quick lunch and I was so happy to eat those familiar tastes. They have a good bowl system there, so I recommend you to visit this place with a friend or even a bigger group. That way you can order many different little bowls and taste different things. As I said, unfortunately I was in a hurry and just took a simple curry with rice - but it was so good! 

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YoYo Foodworld

Going out with a group of friends? Can't decide whether to go get pizza, burger, or wraps? A vegan roast perhaps? This place has it all! Vegan fast food restaurant with amazingly low prices. But I personally recommend the pizzas there. Amazing authentic Italian style oven pizzas - 30cm pizza for only 6,50€. You just have to try it!

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Of course after spending all my money on the delicious vegan food out there, I had to try the student special as well. A delicious cherry beer and the only instant noodles I could find on the corner store on Sunday. And yes, ALL the supermarkets were closed on Sunday! Still can't wrap my head around that.

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Meeting so many like minded people at the same place, over a hundred animal welfare and plant based food advocates from at ound the world, was really eye opening. Just seeing how many professionals are dedicating their time and effort for creating a better planet for ourselves, our children, and of course the animals. It really made me feel that anything is possible. Even the vegan world. 

Many small people, who in many small places do many small things, can alter the face of the world.
— East Side Gallery, Berlin, 1990
 *I hope that someday the wall between vegans and meat eaters is torn down as well.

*I hope that someday the wall between vegans and meat eaters is torn down as well.

***As many of you know from my social media accounts, the reason for the recent travelling has been my new job. I'm so happy and excited to tell you more about that in the next blog post! 

MY FAVOURITE VEGAN RESTAURANTS

 Delicious raw vegan wrap at Toormoor.

Delicious raw vegan wrap at Toormoor.

Being a passionate home cook myself I still love to go out to eat once in a while. To experience new flavours, get some inspiration, and spend quality time with my loved ones. I'm not a big fan of takeout. For me enjoying the restaurant's atmosphere and eating food on proper tableware fresh from the kitchen is a big part of the experience. Maybe it's because I really love to cook myself that I have really high standards for eating out. And since I really do spend a lot of time in my kitchen it's really good to get out of there once in a while.

I feel so happy and blessed to live in Tallinn - holy city for vegans - the place with endless opportunities. Today almost every self-respectful restaurant and cafe in Tallinn has some kind of vegan option. You can get literally everything in vegan version - vegan junk food like pizzas with vegan cheese, burgers, pastries... we even have a little raw vegan cafe called Toormoor in the new hip Balti Jaam Market. Of course the situation can be better because there still are places that don't even offer soy milk as an option with coffee, but the general picture is really good compared to other Estonian cities. And I think that every little vegan cafe - or even restaurants - that care enough to put vegan options on their menu should be praised. 

Even though I really love Asian food and one of my favourite places to get vegan sushi or don-bowls is Sushi plaza, I must say that my all time favourite full vegan restaurant is Vegan V in the beautiful UNESCO World heritage Old Town. Of course it's the only vegan restaurant that truly lives up to restaurant standards. Many other places may also have amazing food, but this is the place I recommend going if you truly search for a restaurant experience! Even the restaurant itself is a sight to see. But be sure to book a table ahead, because every time I have gone there it's been packed! 

 This is just how happy good vegan food makes me! - Vegan V

This is just how happy good vegan food makes me! - Vegan V

We have had a few family birthdays, few dates, a couple of get-together's and I'm dying to still go back! The food there really is amazing. Lately I went there for a Women's Day lunch and had this beautiful Caesar's salad. Being a former Caesar's salad addict I truly must say that this is the best I've ever had (Vegan V recently wanted to remove it from the menu, but I hope this will not come to pass)

 Worlds greatest Caesar's salad in Vegan V

Worlds greatest Caesar's salad in Vegan V

The strong second place goes to Noodle Box in Telliskivi. It's the most authentic South-Eastern Asian food I have ever tasted. If you're looking for strong spices and new flavours then this is the place to go! The food is ridiculously good and priced very well. I must admit, since it's so affordable we like to go there quite often - but that's only a good thing! Places like Noodle Box help to dispel the myth that vegan food has to be something expensive and simply consist of a bunch of salad. The interior is of course characteristic of the Telliskivi Creative City - bare and functional if I may say so!

 Noodle Box in Telliskivi - excellent after a night out

Noodle Box in Telliskivi - excellent after a night out

Like I said there are so many amazing vegan restaurants, or restaurants that have vegan options in Tallinn. So it was really hard not to mention them all in one post! I would love to hear some feedback from you guys: Which one is your favourite restaurant and would you like me to make more of those restaurant posts?

If any of the aforementioned restaurants would like to contact me for further reviews/food tastings then please use the business email form under Contact

MY VEGAN STORY

There are many reasons why people go vegan. Some do it for their health, some do it for the planet, some do it for ethical or religious reasons. Other people just don't want to contribute to animal suffering. For me the main reason of going vegan was the health question. We are brought up believing that being ill is something inevitable, that conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are bound to strike most of us in old age. Only recently have I realised that you don't have to spend the last decades of your life fighting with horrible diseases like many of my ancestors did. I decided to take my health in my own hands.

At first I felt like I had been living in a lie. Like I mentioned in my previous blog post, I was raised following the standard Western diet in the Nordic countries where meat, fish, and dairy were considered the most important parts of a healthy diet. Luckily my family had relatively healthy eating habits. We usually didn't consume much processed or junk food and my mother is an excellent cook. But nonetheless we did consume a lot of animal products. So at one point when I started my research about veganism I felt like I had found the Holy Grail of health and prosperity. I couldn't believe that all of this information was kept from me. Right now it feels almost ridiculous that I believed myths like "cows give milk all the time" and "protein equals meat". It wasn't that I'm dumb, I just hadn't had the need or chance to educate myself with the truth. As they say: ignorance is bliss - and I truly was in bliss. 

After years of research and on-off relationships with plant based diets it finally dawned to me after having a child of my own. The moment I had her I realised that I don't want to raise her in the same lie I was brought up. I can gamble with my own health but I can't forgive myself if I don't offer her the best I can - giving my knowledge. Satisfying our taste buds or living within the norm isn't worth compromising my child's life for. The final step to going fully vegan I owe to my wonderful and supporting husband. Together we decided that we won't teach our child to live an unhealthy lifestyle just because most of the society thinks it's the norm. We truly believe that a plant based diet is the only option for the future generations. Even now veganism spreads every passing month, we can barely imagine what the situation will be when our daughter grows up.  

I also felt the need to raise her with love and compassion towards all living beings. Animals aren't there for us to consume, and cruelty isn't something you should be comfortable with. Eating meat is usually the easiest part to change, but giving up dairy products is nearly a sin this far North. Especially for a cheese lover like me. (Today I know I was just addicted to the casein). But after having a baby and breastfeeding myself it finally hit me. How would I feel if someone would steal my baby's food? I immediately felt enormous compassion  towards dairy cows and as it turned out - cutting out cheese isn't an issue if you're aware of the true cost of your food. 

Although my vegan journey started with the desire to be healthy and get the most of life, I now feel like all the other causes are equally important. And now I can proudly call myself a true vegan. 

In today's world everyone should have the right to access information about their food, be aware of its origins and know how it affects your body - even if they don't intend to become vegan. And to be fair I truly wonder how somebody can still be living in the dark in - especially in technically advanced countries where via the Internet all of human knowledge is easily accessible. 

If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.
— Paul McCartney

Today we know that being a vegetarian isn't nearly enough, but nonetheless the point remains. 

The documentaries that influenced us the most: