HUNDRED DOLLAR BURGER - THE MCVEGAN CONTROVERSY

I have never been fond of going to the extremes - there was a time when I honestly believed that going completely plant-based itself is really extreme. Especially being vegan - something that seems so impossible to reach for people. Never would I have ever imagined I would be here today spreading the vegan message. 

You will never know just how easy it is to be plant based until you try it. Of course it's important to concentrate on plant based whole foods, but for all of you there transitioning to a healthier, compassionate lifestyle - there are substitutions for almost everything! Even in Estonia.

The choice of vegan cheese, vegan ham, plant based milk, (n)ice-creams and plant yogurts is impressive! Going vegan doesn't mean you have to give up your favourite dishes - you'll just have a plant based substitute for almost everything! Like I said - it's better to reduce the amount of processed foods in your menu but already choosing plant based processed foods over animal products is a big step for the betterment of your health and our planet. 

Like I said I really don't like to go to the extremes. Being vegan really isn't a competition who can be more vegan. If we choose the all or nothing attitude it really doesn't do any good for ourselves nor the animals. Even though I really admire people who manage to be totally plant based and only eat healthy whole foods - I do root for the people who are vegan but slip from time to time - or those who eat vegan junk food. To err is only human!

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Yep. This post really was inspired by the fact that we went to Helsinki for lunch yesterday with my husband. A day cruise just to get a McVegan in Finland. And it was totally worth it! Don't get me wrong - the vegan gourmet burgers we have at home - BurgerBox or VegMachine - are unquestionably better but the fact that you can get a vegan burger at McDonald's... for me is a statement itself.

We also had a stroll through the local supermarkets and the vegan choice there was amazing! Although the choice in Estonia is also really good, I sensed some kind of freedom there. The freedom to be vegan without being judged. The freedom to go to any little store and you will have a decent amount of vegan options there.

 Some vegan options from Helsinki supermarkets: the ice-cream alone is worth going back!

Some vegan options from Helsinki supermarkets: the ice-cream alone is worth going back!

So, by no means am I promoting McDonald's nor fast food in general - my blog is about healthy plant based whole foods. But I like to see the bigger picture. I'm really happy that a global company is helping to normalise veganism. People who are transitioning to a vegan diet don't have to feel like they are giving up everything familiar overnight. Because at the end of the day, we don't live in a perfect world - if we would I wouldn't even have the need to write this post promoting healthy plant based lifestyle. There would be no fast food restaurants and everybody in the world would be vegan. 

Eating in McDonald's once in a blue moon doesn't make you less healthy - same as eating some animal products (by accident) doesn't automatically make you less vegan. There can be all kinds of situations where there isn't possible to be 100% vegan. Of course it's important to try... but there is no need to be beaten up about it when it doesn't always work.

We all are on our own health journey and everybody has their own goals and difficulties. If a few years ago my goal was to be totally plant based, then today I try to eat as little processed foods as I can and concentrate on nutritious whole foods. Just as going vegan took time, it takes time to change one's habits and cravings for processed foods. And even if you feel you don't want to give up processed foods it's also fine! Every step or colour of the plant based spectrum is fine, as long as you are taking care of your health and not harming others.

After posting this McDonald's picture in my local Facebook vegan group I automatically had people saying how McDonald's isn't healthy for you - vegan or not vegan. Of course it isn't! But the bottom line is that when I choose to eat junk food once in a while I have options. Just as everybody else has. 

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.

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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! 

OLLA VEGAN BRACELET GIVEAWAY

EDIT March 9, 2018:
The giveaway has now ended, the winners have been contacted. Please check your messages and tags! Congratulations to both winners, hope you will enjoy your bracelets!

Original as published March 1, 2018:
Today I want to speak about a great little Estonian company called OLLA. OLLA creates beautiful bracelets with inspirational quotes and messages. They have a wide variety of different bracelets and necklaces in colours of silver, gold and rose gold. You may also create your own message and let stamp it on sterling silver, gold brass, aluminium or copper blanks. The selection of messages is changing every month.

Everybody can find something that suits just for them. And the fun part is, that if you don't find the message that fits you truly, you can always custom order a bracelet with your own quote. I really believe that words have power and sometimes we need something or someone to remind us just what we're worth. Or motivate us to be the best version of ourselves. 

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Just as I was writing notes about my today's blog post I came across this quote:

If you worry about every little tiny criticism, you won’t get up in the morning
— Anna Wintour

I found myself thinking of how many times I have let other peoples judgements affect me. Letting myself feel not enough. There are even times that I have tried to cover the fact that I'm vegan. Just to avoid the judgement and comments of other people. Sadly in Estonia there is still a lot of prejudice against the vegan lifestyle. But at some point I realised how important it is to embrace your true self. If you are happy, healthy and comfortable in your own skin, then there is nothing that other people can say to affect you. I also think that it's important to spread the vegan message and having the courage to step up and be proud. Because it's the only way we can make it the norm. People are always afraid of change and new things. So it's very important to try to look at these kind of situations in all perspectives. If someone acts really defensively and tries to insult you, then the real cause could probably be fear. I'm so happy that the amount of vegan attire that's available in Estonia grows day by day, making it so much easier to spread the message.

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That said, I am so excited to announce that me and OLLA decided to have a giveaway together - on Facebook and Instagram! So there's a double chance of winning!

To enter: go and like our Facebook pages (OLLA, LBF) and/or Instagram accounts (OLLA, LBF), you will find the instructions there. The fun part is that everybody all over the world can enter the contest! So don't miss on the opportunity to get this fancy Estonian design bracelet for yourself.

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