Wellness

Paleo Schmaleo: Check Out The Nordic Diet

By AJ James - 18 Jan 2015

Previously we were all eating like cave people. We were die-hard paleo enthusiasts. And despite the obvious that cave men DID NOT have nutri-bullets to make their green drinks, and that human digestion HAS evolved, along with, well, time and evolution, it was one popular craze.

We also fasted two days of the week (silly), and before that we were mad for the Mediterranean Diet—but this time with logical reasoning and sound evidence of the benefits.

It was shown to be tried and tested—notably on humans actually living in the current age. It was a dietary lifestyle well, and still recommended by the scientifically astute. You could also drink wine, a big plus.

And now, as sure as it is that Taylor Swift will pen another hit song post break up this year, it seems another diet craze is going to hit. And this is it. We’re all going to be Vikings! Raping, pillaging, and reindeer horn helmets NOT included.

We’re going to be eating like Vikings. Or rather, following the dietary patterns of the Nordic people. And no, that doesn’t mean you’ll be seeking dinnertime inspiration from an IKEA menu. Already known for being nonchalantly cool and their minimalistic aesthetic, there is now another globally recognised addition to their cultural identity: The Viking or Nordic Diet.

The Beginnings

A bunch of chefs in the region—horrified at all the processed rubbish their fellow Vikings were eating penned a “Manifesto for the New Nordic Kitchen”. It was later adopted by the Nordic Council of Ministers (isn’t it nice how they all work together!) as the favoured mode of eating, with regional, sustainable, seasonal, and tasty ingrained in the mantra.

What You Can Eat

In short, more plants and less meat. The consumption of aquatic produce is up and foraging comes well recommended. A week of dinners would consist of three meat, two seafood and two vegetarian orientated meals. And during the day you can eat as much as you like of local and seasonal greens, root vegetables, legumes, nuts, berries and orchard fruits (e.g anything that is round and grows on a tree). For energy (your body needs carbohydrates, don’t be a muppet and skip them), whole grains including rye, oats, barley and spelt are your go-tos.

The Science

It’s backed. In a study by the University of Copenhagen, one group followed the New Nordic, while the others ate conventionally—including grains, processed food and sugar. It wasn’t a weight loss study, but after six months the Nordic group dropped on average three kilograms. Their hips and waists were smaller, and body fat and blood pressure decreased too. They did a test on school children and their lunches too—and not surprisingly those with the Nordic lunches had less fat in their blood, and lower blood pressure.

Other Good Stuff

The Viking Diet encourages normal eating. You’re not eliminating or denying any food groups—ergo, you won't be introducing one again after a period of absence, so your body won’t freak out and store it as fat out of fear it will never see a carbohydrate again.

You can drink alcohol. Moderately. Just like the Mediterranean. Think one drink a night. Maybe two on a Friday.

Cravings for crap will go down. You’re filling up with good, wholesome foods—your blood sugar will remain stable and so too your consumption patterns and preferences.

Any Catches?

From the research? Not so. But a word to the wise—this is NOT an opportunity to feast like you’ve had a victory against a small defenceless village. Everything in moderation and proper portion sizes ring true. Think European sizes, not anglo ones.

Image Credit: The Food Club

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