Last week, I did a quick trip to Athens to run the half-marathon, see the sun and enjoy the warmer temperatures. On Monday, I drove all the way to Piraeus to visit the Stavros Niarchos park. I’d heard so many good things about it, I just had to see it for myself. I wasn’t disappointed. I arrived there a bit before sunset. The views were stunning both towards the city and towards the sea. The building itself will house the national library and the national opera. But if you’re more into the park, then you may want to rent a bike. I’ll be definitely back soon. But for now, enjoy some photos from my visit.
Or be in any restrictive diet for no medical reason.*
Veganism has become a big trend. I realized how big it is when, few days ago, I found vegan burgers and minced vegan meat (wtf?) at my local supermarket in Norway (which carries a very small variety of products anyway). More and more vegan and vegetarian restaurants pop up in Athens. I have nothing against vegans or vegetarians and I enjoy a good vegetarian dish every other day, because you don’t necessarily need animal products to have a delicious filling meal. However, I don’t see myself committing on a vegan lifestyle anytime soon. Here’s why.
Note: If you get offended easily, please skip this. These are my personal opinions on why I won’t follow a popular lifestyle. If you do choose to be vegan or vegetarian or anything really, good for you.
Because I don’t think I can become vegan and still have a balanced diet. Veganism can be healthy and beneficial for the body and the health. However, I have a healthy balanced diet that includes animal products and doesn’t include an abundance of processed food and sugar. Changing that would require a trial and error period that I’m not going to put myself into. It would also require much more effort from my part to sustain a healthy lifestyle getting all the nutrients I need in such a restrictive diet. I’m just not into it. I like to be able to eat everything. I like moderation, not restriction.*
Because vegan doesn’t mean natural. Vegans nowadays have access to the same processed food options as omnivores. Vegan cheese, vegan bacon (?!), vegan butter and vegan meat don’t sound that healthy or natural. What about normal vegetables, grains, beans, fruits? You don’t need vegan cheese.
Because I like the taste of meat and fish and eggs. And cheese (even though I am lactose intolerant). I don’t eat a ton of meat every day. I don’t even eat meat every day. But sometimes I do and I like it.
Because I come from a country whose traditional diet includes animal products. In Greece, people traditionally eat meat in moderation and our diet is supposed to be one of the best ones. We also have plenty of vegan recipes, because we’re not supposed to eat meat or fish every day. Moderation is key.
Because a vegan lifestyle is not better. For me or for the planet. I follow a very healthy lifestyle. I try to eat whatever is in season, source my food locally if possible and waste as little as possible. Vegan is not necessarily better, if you eat out of season vegetables or buy food that comes from far away.
Because I believe that eating a variety of foods (both animal products and not) will provide me with a variety of different nutrients. By definition veganism reduces the variety of foods one can eat. In my mind, it is very straightforward. Eating a bigger variety of foods will result in getting a bigger variety of nutrients. No?
How do you feel about veganism?
* I cut down on refined sugar few years ago, but I still eat chocolate (that contains sugar) every so often. So, moderation.
February was a month with a lot of stress and many sleepless nights. On top of that, half-marathon training exhausts me week in, week out. I’m having days with 10K interval runs and days with extra long runs in snowstorms wearing spikes. On top of that, I think all of this may be more tiring on my mind rather than my body. Maybe if I wasn’t doing it in the middle of winter, I’d enjoy it way more. Should I quit two weeks before the race?
On the highlights of the past month, I bought a new camera lens which makes me so excited to use my camera again, I found a new podcast that I listen to on the way to work, when I cook, when I get ready in the morning, everywhere really, and I dressed up as a deer in a recent Carnival party. Here’s a more extended list with links and the rest.
– A new camera lens (it’s an addiction!)
– Try a fresh food delivery service (the Norwegian version of Blue Apron)
– The cappuccino machine and the fruit basket at work
– An empty trash can
– Good hair days
– The sound of bubbly beverages
– When I look outside my window and it’s snowing
I’m hopeful for more sunny days and clear night skies filled with northern lights (like the ones we had last night), I’m hopeful for spring and I’m hopeful for happiness (that comes from within). Happy March!
ps. Here’s my training plan by the way. I’m already at week 8 and thankfully past that 19km run (I do my long runs on Wednesdays). Is it too much?
I’ve through a complete uninspired phase with my breakfasts lately. Half-marathon training makes me really hungry, especially in the morning, and while I was never eating toasts for breakfast, now I’m all over them. Today I’m going to share two more of my favorite avocado toasts (still cooking through Jamie’s 15 minute meals).
Avocado and egg
I can eat an egg on top of everything. Fried potatoes? Yes. Burger? Yes. Steak? Yes. So, of course I likes this toast. Avocado + egg + toasted breast = match made in heaven. Will I make this again? Yes, yes, yes!
Avocado and smoked salmon
It’s very common to eat smoked salmon for breakfast in Scandinavia, but for me this was a no-no. I didn’t like the pairing with avocado either. I’d rather have it in a tortilla with cream cheese and watercress. Will I make this again? No.
Do you have any other ideas for open-faced sandwiches to share? I’m all ears!
This Christmas we went to Pilio, which is a famous winter destination in Greece. 6 friends, one AirBnb house and luckily at least a tiny bit of snow and some really cold weather. The views from up there were amazing and we had a great time playing games, eating food, exchanging gifts (loved our secret Santa), walking in the cold, hugging each other and generally having fun. Exactly what we needed to end 2016 on a very positive note. Most of my non-Greek friends were very surprised to find out that we actually get snow in Greece. This Christmas was so cold and snowy, even in Athens. It was just beautiful. Oh, and we all have ski resorts! Maybe these photos will convince you to visit Greek mountains as well.
This Saturday, we drove all the way to Røros in search of a quiet alpine ski center. In Norway, we’re lucky enough to have good temperatures for skiing, but winters can be dry and without much snow. In Røros, the snow was in good condition and the slopes were mostly empty. While it’s not a big center and it doesn’t offer a wide variety of slopes to choose from, there was something nice about not having a ton of people around. In any case, I’m still a beginner, practicing slalom again and again and again, until I can control my skis. Next time, I’ll hit some nice slopes.
ps. A ski course (that I took last year) and buying my own skis were so worth it and made such a huge difference! Another item off my list!