healthy-norway

Welcome to our new blog topic!

We write on many things for My Little Norway – Nature, Living and Immigration, to name a few – but there is one topic we have not covered in detail so far, and that is ‘How to be healthy in Norway’.

Our new Healthy Norway topic will focus on a healthy diet specifically for living in Norway. We will explore natural foods of Norway and traditional remedies, Norwegian food products including typical brands found at supermarkets, how to adapt the superfood, raw food and plant-based movements to Norway, and will definitely include healthy and alternative recipes. We will also look at issues such as surviving the dark season and the cold, recreational fitness, and ideas in the fitness and food industries in Norway.

On the blog these posts will be integrated into our normal posts but you can also use the Healthy Norway topic on the menu bar to go straight to all the posts. We also have a separate facebook page Healthy Norway that will be updated with posts from the blog and other links and tips on the topic.

How this new topic came about:

When moving to Norway there are so many things that need to be taken care of. Housing, family, jobs, education and learning Norwegian take up much of your time and it can sometimes be hard to focus on your health. It takes times to learn how to live in the new climate and Norwegian lifestyle – how to dress, how to care for your skin and how to sleep.  And the food!  There are so many new tastes and new foods to try in Norway, it is easy to indulge in all the local delicacies. Though, pølse and bløttkaker, boller and tube caviar, are common foods eaten in Norway, they not on the top of the list for health. In fact, a lot of what is in the stores are fully processed foods, with lots of salt, fat and preservatives to help them have a longer shelf life. In the past it was necessary to preserve food, especially to last the winter, but now with the growing knowledge about quality food around the world, highly processed food is not adequate anymore for a healthy diet.

When I first moved to Norway I ate what I wanted. I was trying everything Norway had to offer and I became a little overweight. It was unusual for me, being a dancer. I started to miss all the fresh foods I was used to from back home.  I was also exercising and sleeping the way I used to back home, which was healthy for Australia, but things weren’t quiet working out for me in Norway.

In general, Norwegians are known to be more healthy than other countries. I thought they must be doing something right and so went about changing my food habits and cooking to a Norwegian diet. It was a lot cheaper as it didn’t require so much fresh food, but I found the diet to be heavy with bread-based food, salty meats and overcooked vegetables. The typical Norwegian diet was keeping my weight on. Even when I was dancing for four hours a day, three days a week, my weight wasn’t moving. The ‘healthy’ Norwegian diet was not good for me.

I decided to change my diet habits to survive the dark winter of 2012-13. I, like many others, even Norwegians, suffer from insomnia during the dark season. I wanted my food to make my body happy during this time and give me the energy. The Norwegian comfort foods were hearty but made me feel heavy and lazy. With lots of reading and research, I changed my diet to get more nutrients per food intake. I went back to my green diet of fresh vegetables and fruit, little fresh meat and natural dairy. I won’t lie, it did cost me more and it was at times hard to find quality fresh food during the dark season. However, the more nutrient dense food I ate, the less I needed to eat , which in turn, lowered costs.

For the first time in Norway I ate with a healthy goal – to survive the winter – rather than just to lose weight or satisfy hunger. And funnily enough, my trick was not about taking away food from my diet but adding food in – unusual foods that have high health benefits, superfoods, all foods that I can find in my little city in Northern Norway. (If I can find them, I know you can!) This not only has had a very positive effect on my weight but during the flu season I was not affected as much as my fellow Norwegians. (I teach about 150 kids including kindergarten kids who like to share everything.) I am becoming more slender with more energy every day. I am ready for next years dark season – my new food habits will certainly eat my way through to a happier winter.

To all our readers, especially in Norway, we wish to share our discoveries on how you too can eat your way to health and energy in Norway.