Specialized diet in Finland?

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Rainbowchipfrosting
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Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:48 am

Specialized diet in Finland?

Post by Rainbowchipfrosting » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:06 am

Hello,

My husband and I are potentially moving to Finland with our family (two kids). I have a rare genetic condition that is even more rare in Finland (apparently two cases in all of Finland!). Not a lot is known about my condition by the average doctors in the United States; I imagine even less is known in Finland. This isn't me making a judgement, this is likely just a fact of my condition. However, this isn't generally a problem as there is pretty much nothing that can be done for me anyway, unless I injure myself and start urinating out my dead muscles and go into kidney failure, but no biggie. (Kidding!)

I cannot use muscle glycogen, so my muscles have no fuel source while physically active, but I really monitor myself and know my body. To combat my condition altogether, I have a strict diet known as ketogenic or LCHF (Low carb, high fat). This diet enables me to utilize fat ketones as an energy source for my muscles, and bypass the glycogen that I can't use. I am virtually symptom-free while eating ketogenically, and I don't really have to worry about injuring myself if my body is utilizing ketones.

My concern is that the diet may be prohibitively costly/nearly impossibly difficult to maintain. The way I eat is, per-day, 20g or less of carbs, no refined sugar (berries and literally everything are weighed and calculated), an intake of 145g of fat and 71g of protein. So, that's a lot of meat, dairy (eggs, butter, cheese, whole cream), a few fatty nuts (like macadamia/almond), avocado (I can't imagine avocados being prevalent in Finland, but I would be happily surprised.), and coconut oil. Obviously it's a pretty strict diet. I am curious how much fatty meats like pig (is full-fat ground beef a thing?), dark meat chicken, and various dairy generally costs, and is there a way to cut out the middle man/grocery stores for some of these items?

In the States we have small family farms that do farmer's markets, or will sell their meat and dairy to a group of signed-up individuals for a great price. I don't know if that is something that happens in Finland, but it would be fantastic for me. From what I understand reindeer is a common meat, and cow is not... (is this true? Please correct me if I am wrong). Unfortunately reindeer isn't very fatty, and while I'm not opposed to tossing it in occasionally to mix things up, in the long-term I am looking at pig, cow if possible, and even some chicken. It's quite difficult to find information about various agriculture in Finland from the U.S. Anyone know of anything I should be aware of that could aid me in my ketogenic quest? Where should I be looking in order to locate fatty, low carb foods at a decent price? Any keto folks living in Finland to suggest some hacks or if it's even practical to be keto in Finland?

I've had this condition my entire life, and I haven't always been keto so it is possible for me to eat like everyone else. However, my quality of life is significantly, significantly improved eating ketogenic (being able to walk up 10 stairs before muscles go into painful contractures vs upwards of 40 stairs), and I would like to continue to do so if we move.

I appreciate your helpful answers in advance.

Thank you.



Specialized diet in Finland?

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wolf80
Posts: 438
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Helsinki

Re: Specialized diet in Finland?

Post by wolf80 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:17 pm

Rainbowchipfrosting wrote:Hello,

My husband and I are potentially moving to Finland with our family (two kids). I have a rare genetic condition that is even more rare in Finland (apparently two cases in all of Finland!). Not a lot is known about my condition by the average doctors in the United States; I imagine even less is known in Finland. This isn't me making a judgement, this is likely just a fact of my condition. However, this isn't generally a problem as there is pretty much nothing that can be done for me anyway, unless I injure myself and start urinating out my dead muscles and go into kidney failure, but no biggie. (Kidding!)

I cannot use muscle glycogen, so my muscles have no fuel source while physically active, but I really monitor myself and know my body. To combat my condition altogether, I have a strict diet known as ketogenic or LCHF (Low carb, high fat). This diet enables me to utilize fat ketones as an energy source for my muscles, and bypass the glycogen that I can't use. I am virtually symptom-free while eating ketogenically, and I don't really have to worry about injuring myself if my body is utilizing ketones.

My concern is that the diet may be prohibitively costly/nearly impossibly difficult to maintain. The way I eat is, per-day, 20g or less of carbs, no refined sugar (berries and literally everything are weighed and calculated), an intake of 145g of fat and 71g of protein. So, that's a lot of meat, dairy (eggs, butter, cheese, whole cream), a few fatty nuts (like macadamia/almond), avocado (I can't imagine avocados being prevalent in Finland, but I would be happily surprised.), and coconut oil. Obviously it's a pretty strict diet. I am curious how much fatty meats like pig (is full-fat ground beef a thing?), dark meat chicken, and various dairy generally costs, and is there a way to cut out the middle man/grocery stores for some of these items?

In the States we have small family farms that do farmer's markets, or will sell their meat and dairy to a group of signed-up individuals for a great price. I don't know if that is something that happens in Finland, but it would be fantastic for me. From what I understand reindeer is a common meat, and cow is not... (is this true? Please correct me if I am wrong). Unfortunately reindeer isn't very fatty, and while I'm not opposed to tossing it in occasionally to mix things up, in the long-term I am looking at pig, cow if possible, and even some chicken. It's quite difficult to find information about various agriculture in Finland from the U.S. Anyone know of anything I should be aware of that could aid me in my ketogenic quest? Where should I be looking in order to locate fatty, low carb foods at a decent price? Any keto folks living in Finland to suggest some hacks or if it's even practical to be keto in Finland?

I've had this condition my entire life, and I haven't always been keto so it is possible for me to eat like everyone else. However, my quality of life is significantly, significantly improved eating ketogenic (being able to walk up 10 stairs before muscles go into painful contractures vs upwards of 40 stairs), and I would like to continue to do so if we move.

I appreciate your helpful answers in advance.

Thank you.
Meat in Finland in general is rather lean. That's how Finns like it, and the cuts you get in the normal supermarket are already trimmed from any fat. Butcher's virtually don't exist, people buy their meat from the normal stores. There is few specialised meat shops (for example in Helsinki in Hakaniemi kauppahalli) where you can also order specific pieces, but they are rather expensive. I don't know about any possibility to buy directly from a farm, if it exists it is probably not a big thing.

Reindeer is easy to get (at least the frozen chunks of meat) in every supermarket, but it is not everyday food. Also it is not cheap. Nice pieces of beef are easy to get, but they are expensive, too. Steak is a delicacy more than everyday food, my Finnish gf only eats it on Sundays and special holidays.. Pork is also easy to get, but not the most favourite meat of Finns. Ground beef (with various amounts of fat in it that are indicated on the package) and chicken are mostly eaten. Also fish, but as I personally don't enjoy that too much I cannot tell you too much about it.

Your choice of shops is limited anayway, in principle you have the K-group, the S-group and Lidl. Stockmann food stores in some selected locations, a few organic food stores (with high prices), and then some small foreign food stores. Plus a few specialised shops in the kauppahallis. That's in the capital, and partly in the major cities. In the deep, deep countryisde the choice will go down to the S- and K-group, and if you are very lucky you have a Lidl in driving distance.

All in all, if your health depends on daily intake of fatty meats, my guess is that you're gonna have a hard time in Finland.

My advice would be, come to visit the country before you move here. Check the supermarkets and see for yourself if you are able to buy (and afford) what you need for your condition. I personally would not move here without being sure about that.


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rinso
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Re: Specialized diet in Finland?

Post by rinso » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:45 pm

Pork is also easy to get, but not the most favourite meat of Finns.
In my opinion pork is the staple meat in Finland. And in my supermarket fatty pork is easy to find.
In most supermarkets fresh fish (salmon, rainbow trout, both fatty fish) are available.
In almost all mayor towns there is a market hall with often a butcher and a fish shop. But the range of products can vary.
Avocado (depending on the season) and coconut oil are also available.
In general I would say you could follow your diet without taking a second mortgage.

One problem you need to be aware of is marinated meat. They contain a decent amount of sugar or honey and in your case it should be washed off.


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wolf80
Posts: 438
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Helsinki

Re: Specialized diet in Finland?

Post by wolf80 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:57 pm

rinso wrote:
Pork is also easy to get, but not the most favourite meat of Finns.
In my opinion pork is the staple meat in Finland. And in my supermarket fatty pork is easy to find.
Well, they sell it at supermarkets, so I guess there must be people buying it. Among my Finnish family and friends pork is rather disliked and people rather have chicken. Already the lean pork is considered too fatty, and people rather eat it as lean ham, if at all.

Still, I haven't seen much pork that I would call 'fatty'. For example, getting a nice piece of meat for a pork roast, including skin and fat, is almost impossible. I can only find the pieces of pork trimmed down to the lean meat. There usually are some smaller cuts with a little bit of fat on it, but it's still nothing compared to what I'm used to from home.


Fatty sausages are also available, but they contain a fair amount of salts and additives, so probably not too interesting for the condition described I guess?


betelgeuse
Posts: 2751
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:24 am

Re: Specialized diet in Finland?

Post by betelgeuse » Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:50 pm

Rainbowchipfrosting wrote: My concern is that the diet may be prohibitively costly/nearly impossibly difficult to maintain. The way I eat is, per-day, 20g or less of carbs, no refined sugar (berries and literally everything are weighed and calculated), an intake of 145g of fat and 71g of protein. So, that's a lot of meat, dairy (eggs, butter, cheese, whole cream), a few fatty nuts (like macadamia/almond), avocado (I can't imagine avocados being prevalent in Finland, but I would be happily surprised.), and coconut oil. Obviously it's a pretty strict diet. I am curious how much fatty meats like pig (is full-fat ground beef a thing?), dark meat chicken, and various dairy generally costs, and is there a way to cut out the middle man/grocery stores for some of these items?
I would try browsing online grocery stores with the help of Chrome live translations to get some rough idea.

https://www.foodie.fi
https://www.k-ruoka.fi/kauppa


Rosamunda
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Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 12:07 am

Re: Specialized diet in Finland?

Post by Rosamunda » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:52 am

The are also REKO markets where farmers sell direct to customers eggs eggs meat fish all year round. And there are farms where you can buy direct. I bought half a pig direct from a farm about a month ago and we have our own sheep. I know beef farmers who sell direct too. Even in the supermarkets you can buy pork fat that you can add to ground beef or pork to increase the fat content. There are also artisan butchers who make their own sausages without any cereal content etc. I can give you addresses and hints if you are coming to the Helsinki area.
The range of dairy products is huge. Check out Valio.fi


inkku
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:26 pm

Re: Specialized diet in Finland?

Post by inkku » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:37 am

Not exactly my expertise but to my understanding game meat (moose) during the hunting season is not very expensive when buying big quantities.


Rosamunda
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Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 12:07 am

Re: Specialized diet in Finland?

Post by Rosamunda » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:24 pm

...if you can find it. Most hunters keep moose meat for themselves. We get moose meat every year and never sell any. That way I never have to buy beef from the supermarket. BTW, moose meat is quite lean. But you can add other animal fat to it eg if you need ground meat for something. In Finland most of the beef comes from dairy cattle.


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