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.

berliin1.jpg

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.  

IMG-0123-Facetune-07-05-2018-05-20-05.jpg

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! 

IMG-0270-Facetune-07-05-2018-05-19-21.jpg

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!

IMG-0227-Facetune-07-05-2018-05-18-12.jpg

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.

IMG-0281-Facetune-07-05-2018-05-20-20.jpg

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! 

EGGLESS EASTER

Happy holidays! Today’s Easter, Good Friday or Great Friday- as we call it in Estonia. Besides having a day off us Estonians will use the opportunity to celebrate it with a tasty family dinner. So will we, but without the main hero- eggs.  

Even as a big egg lover I didn't understand why it's necessary to make tons and tons of hard boiled eggs which would stand on the table for a week after being coloured and eventually go to waste. Because no one can ever eat as much eggs (especially hard boiled) that are being used for colouring and decorating our Easter table. 

Of course it's important to keep traditions alive. But we really need to understand where the Easter tradition comes form. Eventually it's a Christian holiday commemorating the death of Jesus Christ. Not coming from a religious family I didn't know the real reason of celebrating Easter in my childhood. In our family it was just known as a celebration of spring and the exchange of the seasons. And of course a reason to have a big party and make delicious meals amongst loved ones. I truly believe that's the case in most of Estonian families.

Today there's so many opportunities to celebrate an animal friendly Easter. There are so many decorations on the market right now. Including Easter eggs made from chocolate, wood, foam plastic etc. In my opinion it's just a one time purchase and you can use the same decorations year after year. Minus the chocolate one's of course. If you're vegan you can even get Easter bunnies made from dark chocolate from the supermarket. And there is also so many ways to replace eggs on your dinner table. 

IMAGE.JPG

I decorated our Easter table with Vegan chickpea tuna on toast instead of stuffed eggs. I must say that after adding mustard and seasoning the taste and texture is pretty similar. The recipe is really quick and easy. And what’s most important..it tastes amazing!

I wrote on this topic to make you think a little bit more before boiling 20 eggs for Easter. Of course in a perfect world we would celebrate the coming of spring without the expense of other sentient beings. But even if your not vegan, and really want to celebrate Easter with some real eggs there are still ways you can contribute to the well being of chickens. One thing you can do in the behalf of the chickens is to buy free range eggs. In Estonia we have a great stamp system you can follow. From the stamp on the egg you can see how the chicken is being kept and from which country does the egg come from. Here’s the guide in estonian.

munade välimääraja.jpg

This guide is made by a wonderful Estonian farm animal protection organization Nähtamatud loomad. Today I’m especially grateful for the work they do for the behalf of the animals. 

Our little family will celebrate today with a tasty dinner and spending time outside noticing little signs of the coming spring. Of course we will draw chickens, eggs and bunnies but in a whole different context. 

LIFEBASEDFOODS AND OLLA SPRING GIVEAWAY

Since the last giveaway was so popular and I was so sad to pick only two winners, we have decided with OLLA ehe to have a spring giveaway for you guys!

You will have exactly one week to enter the giveaway and already next week - on Good Friday - two lucky followers will get a beautiful OLLA bracelet.

This time we will give the OLLA I ❤ Estonia bracelet on Lifebasedfoods Facebook account and a beautiful rose gold 100% vegan bracelet on Lifebasedfoods Instagram account. 

The weather is getting warmer bit by bit every day and soon it will be time to find our dresses and jewellery. And what better way to start this spring with your own OLLA ehe bracelet!

IMG-8601-Facetune-23-03-2018-10-01-06.jpg

OLLA is a beautiful little Estonian company that creates bracelets with inspirational quotes and messages. And I'm so happy to have the privilege to share those lovely bracelets with you guys! 

For more information on how to participate visit Lifebasedfoods Facebook or Instagram page! Or both!

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

TO ALL THE WOMEN OUT THERE

Today's post is for all the gorgeous women out there!

Lately I have been pondering about about my role in the society. Although gender equality issues have been a hot topic for the past few years in Estonia, I personally feel like the social discussion has reached the other side of the spectrum. There is more and more talk about getting young moms back to the labour market as soon as possible, and that fathers should stay at home with the baby instead. Don't get me wrong, it's an amazing opportunity and fathers should be as involved in raising a child as mothers are, but encouraging women to choose a career over bonding with their newborn children is not right. The system could instead be used to stay at home with the whole family - at least for the first few months. The first few years - especially the first few months - of a baby's life are crucial for developing a loving bond between the parents and the baby. 

Women are superhuman. They can do it all. And I admire working moms. But today's social discussion is talking about stay at home moms like they're a social burden. It's so sad that often the worth of someone is only measured in numbers. Underestimating the so-called soft values. But at the end of the day raising healthy, compassionate and considerate human beings is the biggest gift women are giving to the society. It's something that can't be measured. 

Of course this is only one issue, but I chose to touch on the topic because I myself have felt touched by it. My heart aches for all the single moms out there. And I truly respect them and understand that in those cases going back into the job market as soon as possible is inevitable. Nor am I talking about families who are forced to go back to work due to financial issues. My point is that no one should be discriminated or made feel less worthy. Working moms, stay at home moms, single women or women who don't want to have children. We all are worthy, and our worth comes from within, not from some ridiculous social standards. So today I wanted to encourage you to be the woman who you truly want to be. To align with your inner self.

IMG-7686-Facetune-08-03-2018-10-22-10.jpg

And I also wanted to share with you a empowering smoothie recipe for two:

GREEN MACA SMOOTHIE

  • 3 bananas
  • fistful of fresh mint
  • 1 tsp Maca powder
  • 2 tsp ground flax seeds
  • 100g spinach
  • 200ml apple juice
  • juice of half a lime
  • a bit of ice

This is the perfect smoothie to start your women's day. A healthy green smoothie that tastes a bit like mojito!  Maca is a root plant that is usually consumed in powder form. Maca is a superfood that contains vitamins B1, B2, C, and E and also calcium, zinc, iron, and a bunch of essential amino acids. The reason I decided to talk about maca powder today is because of its health benefits. Maca powder is said to improve female sexual health by boosting libido, balancing hormones and increasing fertility. And Maca is not only beneficial for women, it is also said to boost men's fertility. So whatever type your relationship may be - make sure to share this smoothie with your partner!

So, start the day with this gorgeous superfood smoothie and take a moment to appreciate yourself.

Happy International Women's Day! 

GORILLA VEGAN ATTIRE

A few weeks ago I had this amazing opportunity to model for an Estonian company called Gorilla. They are launching new T-shirt designs soon on their homepage gorilla.ee  Each shirt is with it's own inspiring vegan message, cruelty free and marked with the Fair Wear Foundation certificate - that stands for a fair production process. While being aware of animal cruelty and standing for the vegan message it's also really important to stand for human rights as well. The wages would be fair and working conditions humane. 

All sentient beings should have at least one right -
the right not to be treated as property
— Gary L.Francione

I am so happy that vegan attire is getting more and more available in Estonia. We don't have to search the Internet anymore and order T-shirts with questionable value, not knowing where they really come from or by whom they're manufactured. Companies like Gorilla have made it really easy to spread the vegan message and I'm more than happy to help them do so.

These new T-shirt designs are dedicated to the fur animals and fighting against fur farming. On them you can find slogans like "Foxes are friends" and "Foxes are for hugging and scarves for getting warm". Trust me they're quite catchy in Estonian. The little foxes are so snugly and adorable!

Oh and the most amazing part of the photo shoot was getting to know these wonderful girls! And the crew behind the camera of course! 

DSC_5392.jpg
DSC_5491.jpg

ORDER YOUR OWN VEGAN T-SHIRTS HERE:

TRADITIONAL RECIPE: RUSTIC PEA SOUP

As you may know we live in the Nordic countries. Northern Europe. The spot on mother earth, when the sun rarely shines and winter tends to last at least half of the year, if not more. At least in Estonia it's perfectly normal to see snow even in May. 

Living in the Nordic countries, I have heard more than enough times that veganism isn't possible in a colder climate. This my friends is complete nonsense. Of course it would be delightful to live in a climate where ripe fruits are abundant and available all year round, but then again there is so much more about veganism than fruits. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds-they all have an important place in a vegan diet. And I can say that the Nordic diet is very rich in vegetables, especially in root vegetables. In my opinion you have to be conscious about your nutrition no matter where you live and what your food preferences are. For example almost every Estonian is suffering from vitamin D deficiency- so we should use vitamin D supplements just because sunshine and warm weather is rather an exception where we live. So you must be aware despite of your diet choices.  

An other myth I often hear is that being vegan means that all of a sudden you can't eat anything, especially the traditional dishes. Well, this is one other thing I certainly must argue against, because basically all dishes can be veganized. This is one of the reasons I wanted to create Lifebasedfoods. To show people that healthy homecooked and hearty vegan foods are possible. You don't have to abandon family dinners at the holiday table, on the opposite. You can make the dinner table even richer. 

Last Tuesday it was Shrove Tuesday or Vastlapäev in Estonian. Some nations celebrate it as Pancake day. Well in the Nordic countries we traditionally celebrate Vastlapäev by eating pea soup and vastlakukkel/semla balls (doughy buns with whipped cream). Luckily we had so many vegan cafes offering vegan semla balls, that it wasn't really an issue. And yes, I ate too much of those! But I really wanted to cook a traditional pea soup at home for my family. And oh god it was good! So I just have to share the recipe with you:

822C7A69-EEF4-4C51-8916-04CFB40E4AD1.JPG

RUSTIC SCANDINAVIAN PEA SOUP:

  • 250g split dried peas (rinsed and soaked the night before)
  • 150g pearled barley (also soaked the night before)
  • 2 onions
  • 1 big carrot
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 150g of smoked tofu*
  • fresh parsley and dill
  • 1 vegetable stock cube (10g)
  • black pepper and salt for seasoning
  • olive oil 

* If none is available then use sliced vegan smoked ham (100g) and regular tofu (150g) instead

In a big pot heat the oil and cook the finely diced onion until soft. Add some chopped carrots and tofu, roast them a little and add the water with a vegetable stock cube. Then add the soaked peas and barley to the pot. Add some water if needed and season the soup with a little salt and black pepper. Cook on medium heat. Don't forget to stir often. When the peas are almost softened add some finely chopped potatoes with some dill and parsley. Add some water for desired consistency and cook until soft. 

Although it seems as a lot of work at first, it's really easy. Just throw everything in a pot and let it boil into a piece of art! Boiling a soup you have to be creative. Add water to reach the consistency you desire and don't forget to try it in the process to adjust seasoning.

I just love traditional Scandinavian cooking and it's a joy to share the vegan version with you guys!

 

DREAM PLANNER FOR PLANNING DREAMS

I have always loved to write things down on paper. Already the sensation of it- words flowing through your hand, physically leaving a mark on the paper, eventually coming true. I believe that words have power, and even more when they are written down on paper. So I think it's very important not only to talk and think about your wishes, plans, and desires, but also to write them down on black and white. 

In today's world when all possible calendar apps and gadgets are available on your phone, using a paper planner fells less relevant. But for me it's an essential. I truly believe that taking time for yourself once in a day, writing a diary or arranging a daily planner is a somewhat meditative act. Writing down your daily goals and plans really helps you stick to them and think your actions through.  

IMG-5856.JPG
If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.
— Mark Spitz

So you can only imagine how happy I am to finally own a great, functional planner over many years. I got this Estonian designed planner for Valentine's day and it has been my good friend ever since. You can find it from Fashion notes by Triinu. This beautiful planner has everything. Motivational quotes, monthly goals planners and to do list's for every day. In addition to all the functionality, it really does have a great design. You just want to use a planner so beautiful. 

I also use the extra space for writing down what I am grateful for every day. It's so important to remind yourself from time to time how wonderful life is. Even the simplest of things. When we are grateful for what we have today, we attract more happiness and abundance into our lives. Even though it may sound cliche, trust me - it works. Love attracts love. So love your life and yourself today, regardless of everything. And you will see that the universe will deal with the rest.