Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hermans Vegeterian Restaurant Stockholm

Finally, last Saturday, we made it to the Hermans restaurant, in Stockholm, that I've been wanting to go to for so long. I haven't had time to write about it yet as I've been busy with my studying for my last exam this spring, but now it's also over!

The restaurant didn't let us down, they had an Indian theme that day, the bread was heavenly, they had both naan-bread and a dark Swedish bread with cranberries, both were fresh and just baked from the oven. As we ate from the buffet I wish I hadn't taken such a big first plate as I never got around to go for seconds, I was too stuffed already. But instead I enjoyed their tea's.

 Cute tea-section
 Nice View

Nice Terrace

Cute signs

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Transition Culture

I usually participate in the "Change the World Wednesday" challenges by Reduce Footprints only on twitter but as the challenge this week is to share a Tedx talk by Rob Hopkins, what better way to share it than here?

Rob talks about a transition project in his home town, a project on how to get the community involved. I wish to be part of a project like that one day! The main ideas is to save energy and our environmental footprint by supporting the local business and at the same time create a better community feeling, which is what the people involved valued higher than anything else.

Some of the ideas he is talking about touches a little bit the same topics as the ideas under the term Collaborative Consumption. He talks about sharing gardens for example, just yesterday I found this webpage offering activities and services you can share, and they have a different section for sharing your garden! Let's see if these sort of ideas grow bigger and bigger!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Generation Awake-New Stuff!

As you might remember, I wrote about the EU campaign Generation Awake in December (cheap, unintended rhyme). I got an e-mail from Brussels informing me that they have now introduced a new character, Water Maniac Walter, who will give tips on how to save water on their webpage, along with the other characters.

The webpage will be updated with new features during the year, for example, a calculator for your ecological footprint on different goods, like beer, hamburgers and jeans. In September they will open up a video competition for anyone to join and some live events will also be organized around Europe.

If you're interested on what's coming the best way to stay updated is probably through their Facebook page. I'm happy to see there's things going on!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Next Food Trend?

In Stockholm on Wednesday me and my friends also went to eat to Hermitage, a complete vegetarian restaurant with an awesome buffet.

This is what lonely planet says about the place:

All hail herbivorous Hermitage, famed for its cosy laid-back vibe and soulful veggie fare. Everyone from Stockholm students to frazzled tourists comes here for global flavours like spicy Moroccan stews and creamy cottage cheese pancakes. Indecisive types can opt for a bit of everything, served high and mighty on a gut-filling plate.

One of the friend's who told me about Hermitage, sent me a link (in Finnish) today about the possible next food trend, called something like "flexitarism". Flexitarism would be to eat mostly vegetarian but still eat meat as well, to be pro-vegetables but not anti-meat they describe it in the article. My friend's comment was like "this is what you've been doing already for long!" and I guess it's true, I still eat meat occasionally but I try to follow the four steps of this diet.

1. Reduce meat
As my boyfriend still eat meat I might have half a piece of chicken if he cooks, but not as much as I used to have, also if we are invited to dinner I will not leave my plate if it has meat on it.
2. Exchange
Instead of putting ham on the sandwich for example, try hummus, avocado, tomatoes with basilica etc. Additionally, exchange diary for other alternatives when you can. I keep learning about things you can exchange, like when baking you can add banana instead of egg etc.
3. Concentrate
Keep at least one day a week meat-free or focus your meat eating on weekends for example. I should perhaps keep better track on when I eat meat, but instead I focus on trying to eat vegetarian as much as possible and I hope the vegeterian part will weight more in the end.
4. Replace
Instead of minced meat try an vegetarian alternative like soy for example. I keep learning about the replacements as well. For someone new to this whole vegetarian thing it's not so easy always to find the alternatives in the store and to know how exactly they should be cooked (to taste well). The only meat replacement I liked to so far was quorn when cooked by myself, so I have to keep learning I think.

My motivations for reducing my meat eating is because I don't like the way the animals are treated in industrial meat production and it's not environmentally friendly. For the amount of people we are on the planet there is no environmentally sound way to have meat for all and in a way where the animals would be treated well. I also try to avoid fish and seafood as I don't think the fishing ways are sustainable neither.

If my reduced meat eating will lead to a complete vegetarian diet I don't know yet as my goal for the moment is just to learn more about vegetarian/vegan cooking and eating as well as the nutrition part, but this could definitely be an easy way to soften the change if you are thinking about discarding meat.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eco Hairdresser experience no 2

This time I went to Ecohair in Stockholm, very nice place and I felt they did a good job. It's a shame here is no eco hairdresser in Uppsala!

 I forgot to take a proper "before" pic so this is a self-made try while I was waiting for my turn.

This is after, I'm quite content as the colour is quite even in the whole hair and in the sunlight the colour looks more blond. Here some pics from last time, but then I had still colour left from conventional colouring and here are some pics from when I tried colouring myself with herb colours.

If you go to an eco hairdresser be prepared that the colouring will take much longer than in a normal hair dresser as the colour has to stay in longer. Also you cannot go more blond than what you are as that would require chemicals. In general it is difficult to change the colour radically with herb colours so best to stay quite close to your natural colour. I think with these colours you can manage quite will at home also but be prepared that it's easily gets messy so it might be a good idea to have a friend help you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Yoga Challenge Day 7

This time I did evening yoga again as I've been in Stockholm during the day at the Eco Hairdresser (which I will tell you more about tomorrow).

I followed the same ruotine as yesterday; Ashtanga yoga and I couldn't be bothered with the DVD. I might have missed some position but all in all it just felt nice and I can see why it would be good to do yoga more often. One focuses better on the breathing and concentrate much better. For the first time during the week I also felt that my mind "lighter" after the yoga pass. I hope to do the next pass soon but I'm also excited about doing some other sports for a few days.

To reward myself for the good work and inspire me to continue I picked up a yoga magazine in Stockholm on the way home. Let's hope it's a good read!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yoga Challenge Day 6

Yesterday's relaxing yoga session turned out really well, I listened to the body and did the poses I felt my body needed ( I also freestyled a bit) but I felt that it was good to stretch the muscles that asked for it and I felt quite flexible!

Today I was back to normal routine and morning yoga. My wrist still hurts a bit but it was luckily no problem for the yoga. I skipped the DVD today and did the poses in my own rhythm and I can see that at least there has been one good point with following the same routine for a few days: Now I remember the order of the poses by myself!

It was definitely nice to skip the DVD, I opened the window and only listened to the birds and the bees and it was much more relaxing than listening to the yoga director. Also I found I had a better flow when there was no break between the poses. I was not so flexible but I think it has partly to do with the fact I do the yoga in the morning, it seems I feel more flexible in the evening. Perhaps not so strange, in the morning the body is probably less warm when you start. I could for sure start more mornings like this!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yoga Challenge Day 5

Sometimes unexpected things you lose a wallet and the evening goes into retrieving it back. Luckily there are nice and honest people out there!

So on the yoga front it will be just a few poses before going to bed, perhaps good because I might need to calm down and relax before going to bed now. Also my wrist started hurting in the middle of the day today, I hope it has nothing to do with the yoga! But just in case I will take it extra easy today and focus on only relaxing the mind. I will report more tomorrow, Sleep tight!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Yoga Challenge Day 4

Today morning yoga felt like an impossibility, so instead I went out in the sun and studied and waited until the afternoon. It didn't feel great in the afternoon either so I settled for only the sun salutations today. I hope that tomorrow after a long day in school I will feel motivated for some more yoga. Perhaps not an all too bad idea to take it a bit easier for a day. I went for a walk with the dog instead which was much appriciated by him

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Yoga Challenge Day 3

Today I had to skip my morning routine becuase we were at a agility competition with our dog. After a whole day in the sun and running I still felt like I'd rather do the yoga before dinner when we came home ( the idea of a movie and lazyness after dinner was too tempting). It was, however, perhaps not the best idea, in the very end I was not feeling that great even if  I skipped the sitting down poses because I felt I could do with a shorter pass today. I think it was a combination having drunk too little water during the day and not really having a proper lunch. The breathing was also tough because I felt my nose was stuck.

Good point though were that I reached my toes in the standing position so I must have gotten a bit more flexible!

Let's hope tomorrow feel a bit better!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Yoga Challenge Day 2

I did a morning ashtanga yoga pass today again and it was much more tiring on the back and arms than yesterday, so I took it a bit easier today than yesterday.  I think yoga really shows your weakpoints as it is not so easy to cheat. I was suprised though that it was not the same poses that felt tough today as yesterday. Perhaps because as I was already tired in the muscles my balance was not great today so some poses felt a bit wobbly.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Yoga Challenge

I decided to try and do a 7 day yoga challenge, inspired by Maggie (blog in Swedish). She was in turn inspired by Inner Strenght (also in Swedish).

I did Ashtanga yoga more and less regularly and at different places when we used to live in Helsinki and I have experience from at last four different teachers. The best one was a yoga teacher who was also a physiotherapist, she understood the body mechanisms and I got many great advices from her. Like, I should put equal strenght on both arms and that my legs are straight when they do not look and feel completely straight to me because my joints have a tendency to overextend. This might sound obvious, but sometimes it is difficult to notice these things yourself when you are sweaty and just try to reach your toes in a, what feels like, impossible position.

In any case the last year in Helsinki I didn't do any yoga for several reasons and when we moved to Sweden I decided to start again on my own as I already know most positions. I bought a DVD just to remember the order of the different positions because there is an idea behind stretching some muscles groups before others in ashtanga yoga. It was quite a disappointment when I realised just a year had passed and I was really stiff again and couldn't even reach my toes. I think I had enjoyed astanga yoga because I had never been as flexible as when I trained it.

As I prefer to do my yoga in the morning I haven't done yoga so many times during the winter but I've tried to yoga more or less once a week. Last week it finally felt like I am getting somewhere with the yoga again so let's see how this 7 days yoga challenge affects my body. Hopefully I will see some more changes now!

I started this morning and so far I feel ok, just super thirsty, which is normal after yoga. For me the sun salutations in the beginning always feel worst because they are quite tough until you get your body warm and then I'm ok until the fish pose, which is really though on the neck. I'm happy because the last two times I've managed to do a bridge which was a complete impossibility when I took up yoga again after the break. After the yoga today I want for a walk with the dog but had to sit down in the middle to rest a bit and enjoy the flowers, apperently you shouldn't eat straight after yoga but I'm always starving just after, pehaps because it makes puts my metabolism working.

I think why I like Ashtanga yoga so much is because it is pretty tough and you do not stay in the same positions for to long. Additionally, I prefer the breathing technique to other yogas' I've tried. Still you have to have patience because the results take time.

Any one else up for the yoga challenge?

 Our dog in, what else, but the dog position, he likes hanging around when I do yoga which is not always preferred but he's too cute to tell no to!

Fisheries Policy and Consumer Choices

It was time for a lunch seminar again in University yesterday, about fisheries policy and consumer etichs.

Staffan Waldo from the AgriFood Economics Centre started with telling about the fisheries policies a little bit as, if I understood correctly, he has worked with them. So, as he has a PhD in economics he began by telling why the overfishing is an economic problem. 

Because fish is a shared resource between nations and fishermen, fish is not part in the market system therefore the problem arises of how to fish efficiently (create economic income) and not compete between the other fishermen as there is no price mechanism to allocate fish among fishermen. It's very hard to regulate as the incentives to overfish are present. Basically, as companies want to max their profit, they do not take other companies catching possibilities into account and this leads to excess capability (big fishing fleats for trolling are built to catch more fish than what can be caught) and overfishing.

Today globally:
53%  of fish stocks are fully exploited
32% are overexploited
15% are moderately/under exploited

To deal with the overfishing problem ITQ's (individual transferable quotas) were introduced. Basically ITQ's are granted to fisherman based on the different species total allowable catch (TAC). These quotas have shown some positive effects for example on cod in the Baltic Sea, but not for all stocks. Long lived species, for example sharks, are hard to manage because they move around big areas and have very slow population growth.

So what can a normal consumer do about the overfishing? Will the choices we make in the store have any effect?

Staffan Waldo presented three consumer actions 
1. Boycott
2. Labelling
3. Buy aquaculture product ("farmed fish")

The boycott can be difficult to follow because it is hard to know what fishes are sustainable or not in the store and even if WWF has a sustainable fish guide it is not the easiest to follow. Consumer boycott might not always work either because, as mentioned before, fish is not part of a regular market. So, for example, when Swedish consumers learned that it was bad to buy cod some years ago, the fishermen still fished the cod but sold it to other consumers for a cheaper price.

Labelling might work to some extent. However, the fishes that are labelled today are usually the fish stocks that belongs to the 15% that are under exploited. So it seems that regulation is a more important first step than labelling in this case even labelling does help the consumer make a better choice.
The most common label is MSC, Marine Stewardship Council and about 10% of world fisheries are labelled today. Unfortunately, the added price for the label stays at the food retail company level and does not gain the fishermen.

Aqua-culture produced fish is a bit different from an economic perspective as it is actually owned by someone, like cattle. Also it is possible to control the production; for example: date of delivery, species, regulation of fat in the fish etc. However, there is some problems as well, for example: diseases among the farmed fish that have spread to wild fish, the produced fish has sometimes escaped and therefore created, what biologists call, genetic contamination among free fish, and the producers will still need to fish for smaller fish for food for their fish. Also some fish/seafood cannot be farmed in a sustainable way, like the tiger shrimp.

So it seems that the policies and the labelling might be something to strive for to have growing fish populations and a sustainable fish future. Unfortunately, there is the issue of international waters where the quotas don't apply. Additionally, I wonder how the quotas are followed up...

Our etichs professor Per Sandin, also went into some consumer etichs and I have to say I liked the Lockean provisio idea. John Locke, a 17th century philosopher, had a thought about property from nature, that is not owned by anyone, which basically says: that you cannot take so that there is not anything left for others to take.

I think this would be a very important guideline in today's overexploited world and when it comes to fishing, I guess this is the goal the ITQ policy is trying to reach by not allowing the fishermen a higher quota than what is sustainable.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Stop Land Grabbing and Deforestration

Found this video made for Friends of the Earth about how John Muyisa's land was taken from him unjustly for being used as palm oil plantation in Kalangala, Uganda. It's quite a sad video and I get upset that someones' rights can just be ignored like this! (Read more on their webpage)

Incidentally, I happened to see a video about REDD -Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation- the same day and realized that they are quite interlinked. REDD is an initiative by the UN and the World Bank and the idea is that governments, companies or forest owners should be rewarded for keeping their forests instead of cutting them down. This is a good idea but some fear that this would be done through carbon trading which would not be beneficial to small landowners like John Muyisa. Instead, the focus should be on the consumers using and buying less products that causes deforestation and on giving the land rights to the rightful owners. (Read more here and here)

This is is a complicated matter that needs to be solved gently as it involves both politics, businesses, consumers and the land owners. I hope that we will manage to come to a sustainable solution.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Movie-The superior human?

I find it so natural that humans are not superior in any way and that we are just another animal that I sometimes forget that not all agree. Some arguments for human superiority are quite entertaining, this documentary is discussing some of those issues and was a perfect Friday evening watch. Not too demanding but as I am taking an ethics course at the moment it was also great to see some ethics and philosophy being discussed in the end.

Video and more documentaries can be found here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Eco Café and Messob Restaurant in Uppsala

I didn't have any internet for a few days, therefore a little break in the blogging. We only have three weeks left in Sweden now until we go back to Finland for at least some time during summer, so I decided not to load internet on my phone any longer. Unfortunately that might mean a few less updates on twitter and on the blog, because it is so easy to do things on the go on the phone.

A little less internet may not be that bad though, I spend way too much time in front of the computer when I should, among other things, study.

Yesterday I took a break though and joined two friends in the African restaurant in Uppsala, called Messob. It was a rainy day so it was great to escape to the warm atmosphere inside the restaurant and my, was I happy to see that they had a lot of vegeterian alternatives.

The food and the music was also fantastic and just now when I googled for their website I realized their restaurant have both a fairtrade and a eco-label so it makes me just more happy about it. We ate the food in the traditional way, which is to share the plate and use your fingers with the help of the bread it's laid out on.

Better than pizza:

I realized that I have completely forgotten to write about the eco-café in Uppsala that I went to with the same friends in January when we were studying for our exam. I can recommend them for lunch or coffee as well, very cosy place.

Tasty lunch at the eco-café:

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Man Who Planted Trees

A nice animated short film, I'm quite inspiried to go out and start planting after watching this.

Climate Impact Day

The team for climate impact day is to connect the dots between climate change and extreme weather.

I am lucky to live in a part of the world were extreme weather is not that common, but who knows how it will be in the future. This spring has for sure gone from sunny back to snowy a few times, and we got some hail as well.

Hail on our porch:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ou Nou(tella)!

Nutella, another item that goes off my shopping list. That Nutella is unhealthy is no surpriseto me, but that one of its main ingredients is Palm Oil was a surprise and a big issue. Not that I mind leaving Nutella on the shelf because I don't eat it but Stefan loves Nutella, anyone has a good homemade recipe on a chocolate spread better than Nutella?

Perhaps because I don't eat it I haven't checked the ingredients...Just recently another research showed that Palm Oil is even worse for deforestation and carbon emissions than thought. Here is a link to some of my previous posts on Palm Oil, Palm Oil is one of the biggest reason for deforestation in Indonesia.
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to avoid Palm Oil in food as it is usually labelled vegetable oil and the same big companies own most food industry (link in French) even if we think that we might have some sort of consumer choice in the store.

Pic from here.

Here's the Nutella advertisement that is the reason the Nutella company Ferrero got sued for false advertisement claiming Nutella is healthy.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Organic Waste

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to food is how we should cut down on the food waste. Some food waste is thrown away already in the store but a lot also at home. Planning the meals can help but the French village Pince had a more creative idea. They will hand out two chickens that will eat the organic waste in every household, the chickens will also save the families money by providing eggs. I think it it a cool idea! (I found out about the the chickens on this Swedish blog)

On the subject of food Noora Shingler posted an interesting post today as well. It's about a photo project on "what the world eats". Different families in different countries have photographed what they eat during a week and of course it's a huge difference! Check out some of the photos on her blog. What would your photo look like?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Do I Need this?

How often do we ask ourselves "Do I need this?" before we buy something? Kate Schermerhorn wants to investigate the motivations behind our consumptions because she doesn't believe that guilt will change our behaviour. Interesting? You can find her project webpage here.