Feeling a whole lot happier!

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Since starting a more fruit based diet, I’ve felt so much more… I guess energized.  Well, the thing is that with my on/off insomnia, other health issues, especially IBS, and stress at work and some other issues in my life, I have felt really tired for the longest time. I need to snooze the alarm like 10 times in the mornings and I don’t feel like doing anything. With me living in Finland, when autumn comes and winter approaches and the days become shorter and darker, I usually tend to get more depressed and tired, but this time it hasn’t been that bad. I mean, this hasn’t been a miraculous change or anything, but I notice myself having more energy and actually caring about things, which I usually don’t do during the winter. I need to give credit to all the fruit I’ve been eating, especially bananas!

Speaking of darkness, did you know that Finnish summer is known for the nightless nights? It literally does not get dark in the summer time. Here’s a throw back to me coming home on a beautiful summer late evening after a friend’s birthday party (gosh, I miss summer):

throwback

So for the longest time I’ve been feeling like I really want to and need to get married soon because of reasons I am not going to list right now, and my boyfriend on the other hand isn’t ready for it at all (for very valid reasons I’m not going to tell just yet either) and it has been making me feel really down. I mean, it’s not like I am unhappy, or that I feel unloved or anything, it’s just that getting married is one step towards other goals that I have and by us not getting there, feels like I’m missing out on things. I wish I had the strength, the time and the words to explain everything, but right now I don’t. The point behind this ramble is, that since feeling a lot better in my body, I’ve also felt less stressed about the whole marriage issue among other things.

I am so very glad to inform you that it has been about a month and a half since the last time I had intestinal spasms or other kinds of severe stomach pain. I am 100% sure that it is mostly due to the combination of eating less meat and dairy and being less stressed about everything. I’m so happy that I’m feeling healthier!

One of the people who inspire me the most is Sarah Argo from http://southernblondevegan.com/. I’ve gotten so many good recipes from her and been inspired to come up with some of my own! Go check her out everybody!

Here’s a picture of a lovely strawberry-banana treat I made following her recipe:

yumminess

No wonder I feel better, huh? 😉 🙂 ❤

Well, time for me to go to bed! Good night everyone (or good morning/day, depending where you’re located). 🙂

XO,

Hanna

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Secret Friend.

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Even though I’m from Finland, I do not, and I mean I REALLY DO NOT like cold!

And it has indeed gotten very cold, and when it’s not that cold, it’s rainy and windy. Oh and it’s dark from like around 6 pm until 8.30 am. And the dark lasts longer every day.

Since I dislike the cold and the darkness, I do not leave the house much on my spare time, except to walk my dog. So I’ve had to come up with things to keep myself occupied while I stay inside. I’ve of course watched a lot of my favorite shows, read books, cooked and baked lots of yummy stuff and surfed the amazing world of the internet, but also started a new hobby. When I was younger I used to have a couple of pen pals. I really missed having sort of a secret friend that’s mine and mine only. And the feeling when you come home, you see a large pile of mail and instead of just bills and clothing catalogs, there’s also a letter from that friend… So much fun! So I decided to post an add for pen pals on internet. And guess what, so far I have 3. From my homeland of Finland, Turkey and Holland. AMAZING!

Sooo, I’ve spent some of my time writing super long letters. Not only is it fun to send and receive letters, but it’s like having your own private therapy session every time you sit down and start writing. Also, you get to develop a friendship in this social media era, that goes so much beyond whatsapping, tweeting, liking your friends posts on facebook, instagramming and hanging around with your friends and their smartphones. You really have to empty your mind of everything else and focus on the letter you got from someone who put their time, thought and energy to write to you. And you get to invest the same amount of your time, thought and energy into replying.

It’s much like writing a blog. Except it’s quite not, because you get lengthy well thought-out comments for every bit of information you give to your pen pal. 🙂

Do you people have any hobbies?

Ciao,

Hanna

I’ve been in a funk.

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HEY EVERYONE, IT’S MEEEEEEEE! Finally. 🙂

So lately I’ve been struggling with sadness and dissatisfaction about my life. There’s things I want to do but can’t yet and it frustrating, sad and plain annoying. I’m irritated, especially at work, and don’t find life motivating.

I sound like I’m depressed right? I’m really not, it’s more like quarter-life crisis.

The one thing that manages to motivate and interest me constantly in food and especially vegan food. Still not completely vegan or vegetarian, but it just seems to pull me in more and more.

I’ve been making some incredibly delicious vegan food and I’m loving it. Too bad for me and my blog, I don’t have a good camera and absolutely no photography (or table setting) skills so I cannot put on display everything I’ve made. You’re just going to have to trust me. I have tried taking pictures of the food I’ve made but it never looks as good as it tastes so I’ve given up on it.

I’ve been so good about eating vegan, but oh man, I’ve been struggling with not having excess sugar. 😦 Booohooo. Of course there’s no-one I can blame other than me, but it’s still irritating. I’ve tried baking lots of healthier options and avoiding sugary things I would have gone for before and sometimes it works. But the other times I walk by a pick and mix isle and I can’t help myself. Needless to say, my weight hasn’t gone down as much as I thought it would have. Luckily I my appointment with the nutritionist is approaching (Nov 26th) and I’m sure she will be helping me with my sugar addiction (and me not having a backbone).

Speaking of sugar and baking, I will try to develop a recipe for breakfast muffins with very little sugar. I’m going to try replacing sugar with dates and/or bananas. We’ll see how that will work out. 🙂

Take care lovelies,

Hanna

Autumn is like Sunday of seasons.

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I love autumn. I love the colors, the clothes you need to wear to keep yourself warm and the melancholy of it…

Let’s face it, there is a certain sadness to autumn. Summer is gone, you’ve packed away your summer dresses and flip flops and you know winter is around the corner. Autumn is like a lazy Sunday that you wish would last forever, but you know Monday is inevitably coming.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate winter. I hate just the cold, the darkness, the wet and cold feet, the chapped lips and the dry skin. I do enjoy winter for a good 2 weeks, when the snow is pure like young love and everything is magical an beautiful. And then I get my first frost bite and I can’t wait for spring. I was born in April and I have to say, it is one of my favorite months with the first warming sunshine of the year, the coltsfeet starting to bloom, birds moving back and people coming back alive.

But then again September is also one of my favorite months, so I’ll need to enjoy it while it lasts. 🙂

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Ismo and I on a walk today

Like I told you in the last post, I had a long and rough week and I’m glad it’s coming to an end. At the same time I am nervous about the next one beginning since I know I need to go to work. Lately I’ve been feeling more and more like I want to do something else. It’s not like I dislike my current job, my heart just belongs somewhere else. I need to start looking into that if I want to truly stop fearing Mondays and start enjoying my life.

Talking about things I enjoy. I love sandwiches. I could live on sandwiches. But the thing is, my stomach doesn’t really approve of wheat, barley or rye (or the gluten in them to be more exact) because of IBS, so typical sandwiches are not the best food for me. Before deciding to go vegan for 5/7 days, I was worried about not being able to quit eating cheese and butter and other important parts of a great sandwich. But then I created this little masterpiece; sliced bread made of 100% oat (which my stomach can handle) topped with a little bit of margarine, a good chunk of avocado, lettuce, tomatoes and a little bit of salt and pepper. I’ve had probably 10 of these over the last 2 weeks and they are so yummy. I don’t miss cheese even a bit when I eat these sandwiches, omnomnom.

sandwich

Take care everyone,

Hanna

Work, work and more work.

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I’m having a horrible week. Well, it’s not really that horrible. I just need to whine a bit to get it all out of my system… You know what I mean?

I do have to work a lot this week though. I won’t go to much detail about my work, because of several reasons. Let me assure you though, I’m not a secret agent, a stripper or anything interesting like that. Just a normal person in a normal job. This week I just happen to have a lot to do and no matter how much I work, there is even more work to be done!!! Do any of you ever have weeks like this? This week I have to work on Saturday too, boooo.

And how has this semi stressful week affected my eating and my overall mood? BLAAAAHHHH! I want to eat everything, and I mean everything. Like a plate of everything sounds pretty good right about now. But luckily I’ve stayed pretty strong. Also for the first time in a surprisingly long time I haven’t slept very well the last 2 nights. Sun-Mon night I fell asleep at around 02.00 and woke up at 07.00 and Mon-Tue night I slept from 23.00 to 03.00 and then for about 06.15 to 06.50 and then I just had to get up to go to work. So I’ve gotten only about 4-5 hours of sleep per night. It could be a lot worse and I’ve had it worse, but still… I’m tired.

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Really Insomnia, really? You have to step back into my life right when I most need the energy? Sure.

The most annoying thing about this week is that I’m doing the early morning shift. I usually like them, but lately I’ve gotten used to preparing and having a smoothie every morning for breakfast and I’ve been loving it. This week I have to go to work very early and I can’t use our blender that early in the morning, because it would disturb our neighbors. I don’t like making my smoothies the day before, because they tend to go brown and weird in the fridge. Does anyone know a recipe for a smoothie that doesn’t turn weird in the fridge? Or do you have any other ideas on what I could eat on early mornings? It should be quick, vegan and tasty. I would love it if it also were raw, but it’s not a must. And no, not just fruit. I don’t have time to stuff my face with enough fruit to make me feel full and satisfied until lunch.

Speaking of lunch. For lunch and dinner (yes, both because I made so much of it) I’ve been having smooth vegetable soup. I replaced the cream, that I used in the original version, with oat cream to make it vegan and it’s just as yummy. 🙂

soup

Oh and I almost forgot, I made suuuuuuper yummy vegan burgers on Friday last week. I made so many patties that I had to freeze some of them. I ate my burger so fast that I forgot to take a picture of it, oh well… Next time. 🙂

Now I really need to start getting ready for bed. I’ll try reading a book until I notice I’ve read the same line 3 or 4 times and I know I’m tired enough to put the book down and sleep. 🙂 Do you want to know other remedies I have for insomnia? How do you guys treat your insomnia?

Love,

Hanna

My little prince, Ismo (and my other best friends forever)!

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I told you I would dedicate my next post to my dog, Ismo. So I will.

Since I absolutely love animals in general, I will also tell you about other pets I’ve had/loved in my lifetime. Sometimes I even seem to develop stronger bonds with animals than people, so needless to say, I’ve loved quite a few animals in my life; dogs, cats, horses and a couple of tortoises. I will not tell about all of them simply because there have been so many and it would take me such a long time, but I will tell about the ones I either owned or otherwise had a deep impact on me. The rest of them will live on in mine and other people’s memories. 🙂

Bella – My first memory of loving a dog was my grandparent’s (mom’s parents) German Shepherd, Bella. She was the most gentle being, got a long with the many cats they had back then, and I as a toddler was able to take her to walks and hold the leash (under my parents watch of course). I don’t remember much of her, except for her kindness and loyalty and me as a kid loving her to bits. I was 5 or 6 when she passed away and I remember the moment when my grandmother called and told us about her passing and I was so so sad.

Donna – I always wanted a dog of our own. Our dad always promised we could have one, even though he was very mildly allergic to dogs, but the years went by and we never did. One day though, when I was about 9, our parents promised we could go to a pet store and look at a tortoise because he had heard there was one for sale and I fell in love with her. Well, first we thought it was a boy, but no, it was a girl and we named her Donna. Donna was a tortoise that had been given from an owner to another and she had been given the wrong kinds of foods and she was just very sick and had a deformed shell. Because of that, the vet only gave her some months to live my mom mostly handfed her for the longest time and we hoped she would make it. And she did, for 7 long years. One day we can home from wherever we had been and I discovered her lying with her little head hanging out of her shell and her eyes closed and looking lifeless next to a big pile of lettuce. It was the saddest thing I had ever seen and it broke my heart right then and there. I remember asking my mom with my voice shaking whether Donna was dead. After an evening of trying to revive her and talking to a vet, we realized she really was gone and I couldn’t handle it. I decided to walk to my best friends house (cause I just couldn’t stay home with poor Donna being there) and she met me halfway. I cried the whole evening and my friend just listened. Donna was later buried at my friend’s backyard because at that time we lived in and apartment and didn’t have our own backyard. She still rests there next to my friend’s hamsters and turtles. It makes me cry right now, even after over 10 years, thinking about how she could still be alive if it hadn’t been to her previous owners maltreating her.

Rex and Nasse – My parents separated when I was 10 and it wasn’t an easy separation. All of the kids, including me, lived with my mom adn so did our tortoise, Donna. My mom had her hands full and I never thought we’d get a dog. Rex came to us after my dad had without asking the permission from our mom bought a tiny German Shepherd puppy to my brother on their trip to Lapland to visit our grandparents (dad’s parents). My mom first thought nothing of it, because she thought the dog would live at my dad’s house, but instead he came to live with us. My mom wasn’t thrilled about it at first but she grow to love the dog. We named him Rex after “Kommissar Rex”, an Austrian show about a police dog that helped his owner solve crimes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inspector_Rex). Rex lived to be 13 years old and he was such a good dog and he will always have a place in my heart. And so will Nasse. Nasse was originally my stepdad’s dog and when both of them came to our lives Nasse, a long haired German Shepherd, was about 4 years old and I was 11. The two dogs became an inseparable team. They were such lovable, loyal, sweet, strong beautiful dogs. Nasse, being the oldest was the first to pass away at the age of 14 and Rex lived on, missing his friend, for about 3 years. Words can’t describe how much I will always love them and miss them. They had their own personalities and little quirks that I will remember forever.

Ismo  My hairy baby, my sunshine, my best friend through good and bad times, my own little ewok. This is how he came to my life: After I had graduated upper secondary school (or high school) I moved out of my mom and stepdad’s house and in together with my then boyfriend of 1,5 years. Already before we moved in together he knew someday I wanted a dog of my own (because obviously Rex and Nasse, still going strong back then, were to stay with my parents). Having lived with in a household with 2 dogs and a tortoise, I felt like I could never again be without a pet for a long time. My (ex-)boyfriend at the time wasn’t ready to commit to a pet yet even though he had had a dog as a child and he did love animals. I had to just accept it, but I kept telling him “someday”. So a year went by and I still really wanted a dog. I kept doing research on different breeds that would suit us, good breeders etc. And still my boyfriend was like “no, no and no”. I started to recent him for it a little bit, because I had always supported him in everything he wanted to do, big or small, and all I wanted was a dog and he just denied it from me time and again. He couldn’t even promise me that in 5 years I could get one. It was just “NO”! So one day after being together for almost 3 years and living together for almost half of the time and the relationship going up and down anyway, I decided I was going to get a dog whether he wants it or not and if he can’t support it, he isn’t the right person for me. That is how much I wanted a dog. One weekend I went to visit my parents. On that weekend in the summer of 2008, I was searching different breeders again and I happened to look at this one breeder’s website, that I had visited several times before, and noticed she had 2 puppies still needing a home. Both boys like I wanted, both the color and coat type I wanted and both obviously the breed I adored. I went to meet them and I FELL IN LOVE with one of them. The smallest of the litter, and he was already named Ismo. I knew this little creature, a Black & Tan Brussels Griffon, was going to be mine forever. The next day I went and bought him. I was so hapy, I felt complete and so in love. I called my boyfriend to let him know and all he said was that I shouldn’t come home anymore. He was so mad and I was heartbroken but also kinda OK with it, because I realized I couldn’t be with someone who was willing to stand between me and my happiness. After a while he calmed down though and wanted me and Ismo to come home and he also grew to love Ismo. Our relationship ended 6 months later because of something else, and at that moment I knew I had made the right decision in buying Ismo. Ismo has been with me for 6 years now, through the break up, moving to a new city, starting a new relationship, beginning my studies and graduating, my current boyfriend and I living our lives, sickness and in health, ups and downs, he’s always my light even in the darkest days. I can’t imagine what these last 6 years would’ve been like if I didn’t have him.

I realize I sound like one of those crazy people who treat their pets like babies, let them eat from their plate, sleep in their bed, carry them in a bag everywhere and dress them i tutu’s. I swear I’m not, haha! My pets are my pets, I do not treats them as human babies, even if I call them my babies. But I have to say, that some times pets can be so much more loyal than human beings and I do love the animals in my life as much as I love the humans, just in a different way. 🙂

Ismo has had his fair (and some unfair) share of ups and downs too. Only one of his testicles dropped, so the other one had to be removed by surgery and even more tragic, he lost his other eye in a fight with another dog. A dog my (current) boyfirend and I got together. He is a Brazilian Terrier called Tony. He’s a sweet, energetic and cute dog, but he just couldn’t get along with Ismo and started attacking him all the time. Before I was able to make the decision about what to do with them, one fateful day Tony attacked Ismo again and bit his face and injured Ismo’s eye. Unfortunately, despite mine and the vet’s best efforts, Ismo’s eye could not been saved. It was removed by surgery. It was a sad time i my life and I felt like such a failure as his owner. And of course I had to make the decision right then and there about what to do with Tony. I didn’t want to euthanize him, because he is so friendly to all people, and gets along with most other dogs, and I was never going to just give him to some stranger so I wouldn’t know where he’d be or how he’s treated. Luckily my parents decided they wanted to take Tony, so now he lives happily with them on a farm with lots of horses, a cat, Siru, and a tortoise, Kille. We get to see Tony as much as we want, so in the end everybody is happy, and what is more important, safe.

Yes, my Ismo is a one-eyed, one-balled dog. DON’T LAUGH YOU GUYS! Some people say he looks a bit pitiful, but most think he is such a cool dog. He’s easy going, friendly, silly and simply the cutest thing ever.

Here’s a link to Musical Tails’ song about Brussels Griffons on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx8U3WyOXa0

This song represents Griffons so well! 🙂

Here’s some pictures of my lovelies. I haven’t got very many photos of Nasse and Rex especially on my computer, so they are not of some of these are not very high quality. But I hope you enjoy. 🙂

nassukka Nasse and I kissing

nassukka2  Nasse taking a nap

vauvaismo Baby Ismo

kiss Little Ismo getting kisses

IsmojaRex Ismo and Rex, buddies

friendsforever BFF

together Friends are forevertony Tony the handsome

Ismosilmä  Ismo after surgery

Ismoparempi  Healing

tonyjahukka  Tony and my mom’s dog Hukka, friends till the end

ismoranta Ismo enjoying his Kingdom

mamiiloveyou “I love you”

Take care everyone,

Hanna

Food, food and more food!

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I have been sick for the last 4 days. Sniffling, coughing and sneezing, eeww… But although I still have a nasty cough, I am getting better, slowly.

A couple of days ago I went to meet up with the nurse helping me with my weight loss. We talked mostly about IBS and the psychological aspects of losing weight (or not losing it) but she finally was able to write a referral to a nutritionist, yay! Tomorrow I will make an appointment to meet up with her for the first time. I am so looking forward to meeting her. I hope she’s going to be my kind of a person, a no bullsh*t type of professional, who doesn’t speak down or patronize me. I hope to gain knowledge and support from her.

Right now food has taken over my life. I suppose that is how it always is when you try to lose weight, but not only that, trying to keep away painful symptoms of a digestion problem. The hardest part for me right now is to figure out where to get my protein when I don’t want to eat meat, and beans, peas, lentils and such, give me stomach issues. Soy of course, but I don’t only want to live on soy. And I freaking love beans. Today I ended up making bean curry for dinner, even though I know it makes me bloated and achy. But boy was it yummy. Seriously…. I guess the nutritionist will be able to give me some ideas on what to eat to get enough protein and still avoid stomach problems.

I haven’t gotten too many followers yet and I don’t know if anyone is interested in hearing what I eat on daily basis, but I will tell you anyway. Here’s what I’ve eaten so far today:

8:30 Smoothie (3 bananas, big fistful of baby spinach, 4 dl water, 3 dl almond milk, teaspoon of vanilla and 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar)

11:00 A big salad (lettuce, baby spinach, tomato, cucumber, avocado, spices and a tablespoon of olive oil), 2 slices of crispbread withmargarine on top, 3 dl water

14:00 About 2 dl of grapes, a banana and fistful of oat cheerios to snack on, 3 dl water

16:30 4 pieces of Toblerone chocolate

17:30 A big plate of rice, vegan bean curry, cucumber slices, 3 dl water

I am not happy about the chocolate (obviously it’s not vegan and it’s fatty and sugary), but oh well… We still had some left in the closet from the cruise (5 days ago). I have to be happy about having not devoured it right away when we bought it, but instead enjoying a piece here and a piece there over several days. I would have never ever been able to do that before. So GO MEEE! 🙂 Now the chocolate is gone and I won’t be buying any in a while. Otherwise I’m quite happy with what I’ve eaten today. Looks like a good mix of carbs, protein and good fats and of course lots of fruit and veggies. 🙂

Smoothie time (yes, I drank all of it):

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A colorful dinner (those beans are enough for about 4 portions):

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Enough with the food already. Since my lovely spouse is visiting his aunt and uncle and I have the apartment to myself, I am going to enjoy alone time and just do me. I plan on going for a long walk with my dog (I’m gonna dedicate my next post to my dog, he’s seriously the cutest and most lovable creature in the world) and afterwards stretch a little bit while watching tv. Sound like a plan, right? 🙂

Ciao,

Hanna