This is a response to an article I read about the new ‘Nordic Diet’ fad that will likely hits stores near you.
Nordic Diet? Yeah, right. They’ve just picked out some things Nordic people eat, and say that’s how to get skinny. Pick and mixing is not a proper diet.
The article doesn’t mention that seal, whale and horse meat have always been a vital part of the Nordic diet and is highly nutritious. Why didn’t they add them in? PC. When they mention ‘high quality meat’ readers likely thought of expensive cuts of cow, not wild meat that feed freely from the land and waters, that aren’t kept in a pen, and are not forced into abusive breeding practices.
The article uses the word ‘elk’, by which they mean moose (an entirely different animal from the American elk), a meat that is solely obtained through hunting. The article does not clarify this because hunting would offend a lot of their readers and the new Nordic Diet would become PinC.
Processed cold meats full of fat and salt have been part of the staple diet for centuries. However, the processing methods of today have known cancer causing agents. Smoked meats are now gassed instead of being left to hang in a smoker.
The article doesn’t mention that the bulk of oily fish nowadays comes from poop infested fish farms that are destroying the natural environment and wild salmon populations. The escaped farmed salmon are now breeding with the wild salmon spreading disease and weakening the salmon gene pool. They don’t mention that in the dark season Nordic peoples eat large amounts of processed fish (frozen, souped, crumbed, salted, pickled or smoked), therefore the nutrition value is compromised. The main wild fish available natively in winter is halibut, cod, herring and occasionally sea trout. These are only occasionally eaten fresh.
The Fruits and Vegetables
Nordic people eat natural berries that they pick themselves in the wilderness only from July to September. These berries are much higher in nutrients than berries elsewhere in the world because of the colder summer conditions slowing the growth and increasing the nutritional density. Eating factory-farmed berries, as suggested by the article, does not compare in nutrition. You can’t just say ‘well, Nordics eat berries and are healthy so we should eat berries too.’ Nordics eat Nordic berries. There is a big difference.
For six months of the year the Nordic countries are covered in darkness and ice. Fresh food has to be imported from places like Africa and South America – basically everything fruit and veg, even berries, rake up a bucket load of footprint miles, are old or stored in cold for months to a year and have lost a lot of their freshness and nutrients.
Rye bread was a feature grain in the article and I think they are confusing bread with the cracker. The ‘rye bread’ contains a very low amount of rye – it is basically used as a colouring. However, rye cracker bread is very popular as it is made from pure rye and can keep for years! The article also mentions wholegrains, which Nordics do choose over refined flours, however, modern wheat has no relation to the traditional Nordic grains. White rice is a staple food, and unhealthy. In fact, in Norway it has been a tradition to have white rice pudding as a Saturday lunchtime meal.
Dairy and Oils
Nordic people do not use canola oil which is Canadian as mentioned in the article. They use rapeseed oil. Canola oil is highly processed, boiled and bleached, and a modified plant stuff. Rapeseed oil isn’t. There was no mention of the heavy dairy in the Nordic diet from all the milk rice puddings (which is a weekly tradition), cream cakes, and hard cheeses (a daily tradition). Dairy is an essential part of a health Nordic diet, it is not about the calcium but the protein and the iron. Especially in the cold dark months the body needs iron to help with oxygen intake and for cells to more efficiently convert energy. If native animals were scarce in winter, milk and butter from cows, goats and sheep provided the nutrients to last the dark and cold.
Sugar has been essential from the 1800s, a preservative, providing energy for the cold, not to mention the heavy alcohol intake since the Viking Age. Also, today, Norwegians are the biggest coffee drinkers in the world – check the stats!
Today an everyday Nordic diet is based on processed foods – foods that can be stored on the shelf or in the freezer, especially during the 6 months of darkness and winter when there are no fresh plant foods naturally available.
Naturally, Nordic peoples survived on large quantities of red meat for winter (including sea mammals) and winter fish, breads (because grain stored well) and maybe a few root veg. They processed their foods with more natural methods like cooking, freezing, drying, salting, pickling and caustic sodaing. No chemicals or artificial ingredients. They would still be eating that today if nutritionists and activists hadn’t persuade them to change their diet to be as trendy as the rest of the western world. (Norwegians have been embracing the Mediterranean diet for decades!)
Claims of Health
Really, any diet that is natural, based on a large variety of fresh clean food is healthy. The new ‘Nordic Diet’ is just a trend word loosely based off a handful of foods that one population eats only occasionally. This is how naive ‘nutrition’ and ‘nutrition experts’ have become.
One of the points in the article, which gives a good idea of how researchers and media can sensationalize info, is at the bottom with the “only ‘5.8 percent’ of Norwegian women are ‘significantly overweight'”. Ha, where did they get that from? Picking out an obscure slice of info to support health claims is bad science and deceptive.
Stats Norway reveals 27% of the population is overweight and 10% of these are obese. 17% of the adult pop. have cardiovascular disease and up to 38% of the pop. are basically alcoholics, drinking two or more times a week. Check out the links below for more info on things like lifestyle and exercise, etc.
Only providing little bits of information distorts the full truth. Basically, there is a reason the article only took stats from a selection of the population – women – and I wonder what age group of women they chose from, coz I can’t seem to find it. In the survey form (provided link below), I selected overweight and obese women 16+ as from the latest 2012 national survey. It turns out that a BMI of 27-30 (overweight) is 13% and BMI >30 (obese) is 9%. The article’s ‘5.8% of women’ is hogwash.
What is StatsNorway? It is the Norwegian authority on national surveys for every aspect of the country, where WHO gets their information from.
From someone living and eating in the Arctic north. 😉
Lifestyle and Health Article