Nordic Diet Tips from Galina Dixon, ARNP
We are what we eat, for better or worse. But getting healthy means wading through trends, fads, jargon, and generally confusing information. If you’re trying to improve overall health, lose weight, and prevent illness, let Galina Dixon, ARNP, of Seattle’s Excellent Caring Medical Clinic help.
Dixon believes in whole-body care and one-on-one individualized treatment. From her clinic locations in Seattle and Kent, she blends years of experience with Russian/English bilingual approachability to mentor patients. Dixon knows that food selection, like the popular Nordic Diet, is key to staying strong.
The President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition reports that “Your food choices each day affect your health—how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future…The link between good nutrition and healthy weight reduced chronic disease risk, and overall health is too important to ignore. By taking steps to eat healthily, you’ll be on your way to getting the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, active, and strong. As with physical activity, making small changes in your diet can go a long way.”
The Nordic Diet is adapted from a 2004 Baltic Sea Diet Pyramid. Like the food pyramid you were taught in school, it illustrates ideal proportions of different items in a healthy diet. A wide base of fruits and vegetables support grains, dairy, meat, fish, and fats.
The new pyramid, says Healthline, “promotes more food from wild landscapes, fewer food additives, organic produce whenever possible, and more home-cooked meals…The diet was constructed when health experts set out to find why, exactly, Northern Europe had lower obesity rates than the United States. The Nordic diet was developed based on the traditional cuisine found in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.”
Eating this way definitely pays off, report Healthline researchers. “The World Health Organization (WHO) found that both the Mediterranean and Nordic diets reduce the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Other studies have revealed that the Nordic diet can lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, normalize cholesterol levels and help people lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, because the diet is quite similar to anti-inflammatory diets—which traditionally consist of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats—it’s been shown to reduce inflammation in fatty tissues and, consequently, obesity-related health risks.”
If this sounds intriguing, it’s easy enough to do. A quick run through IKEA’s Food Market or restaurant will definitely provide a low-cost, tasty primer on herring, rye bread, pickles, and more.
Nutritionists recommend breakfasting on dried fruit, grains, porridge, and kefir. For lunch, load up on veggies, herbs, fruit, and salads heavy in fermented products like herring. Dinner is also veggie-heavy but includes small portions of fish or meat. Look for ways to include fresh, organic fruit and vegetables into every bite, say nutritionists. Have seafood at least three times a week, and eat beans, nuts, and seeds daily.
If, however, this sounds daunting, take heart. The Pacific Northwest offers some of the world’s best seafood, produce, and flavor combinations around. Salmon, especially cut and cured into gravlax, is ideal on a rye bagel or open-faced sandwich. For snack time, consider munching on blueberries and strawberries. Any fruit or veggie that’s in-season and additive-free is welcome. Dark, blustery fall days are always better with slow-cooker friendly Swedish Yellow Pea soup (a variation on split-pea) or Icelandic Lamb Stew.
Not a big seafood fan? That’s ok. On the Nordic Diet, other meats are allowed but try to stick to a theme of ‘higher quality, smaller portion.’ That way your body will never know what it’s missing.
More than just a diet, though, this is a lifestyle of simplicity and sustainability. The Nordic Diet focuses on foraged, home-made, and waste-free cooking. Vegetable scraps not used in salads can be worked into oven-roasted veggies for tacos or filler in stuffed bell peppers. Not brave enough to try the odd, knobby, unfamiliar autumn and winter produce? Take it from this home chef: pretty much everything’s delicious when slow roasted in the oven with a little salt and pepper or tossed into a crockpot for soup. Either way, your house will smell AMAZING while it’s cooking.
As with any major lifestyle change, consult your medical team before diving headlong into it. Consider making an appointment with Galina Dixon to discuss medications, family history, lifestyle, and goals. She’ll be happy to work with you and provide guidance for healthcare journey.
Contact Dixon through her website or by calling 253-656-1212 for the Kent clinic or 206-339-1434 for Seattle.