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.



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wolf80
Posts: 456
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
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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
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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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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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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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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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Kössi K
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Re: Specialized diet in Finland?

Post by Kössi K » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:36 pm

Replying a bit late but well, in case the OP still reads this or someone else might, anyway.

As a Finn myself, I can also confirm the general idea that pork actually is a very common and liked meat here. I don't personally like it, but it is one of the favourites among a lot of Finns because it is cheap! Pork tends to be cheaper than beef. I'd also say that a lot of Finns like their meats, especially minces, pretty fatty. Some pork meat cuts, for example, are available very fatty indeed, with visible fat layers.

As someone mentioned, one thing to be careful about is the marinated meat packages, but having such a restricted diet, one is most likely used to checking all packages anyway. For some reason, a lot of those premarinated horrible orange-red sauces are added to all kinds of prepackaged meats (like beef or chicken strips or chunks) because people seem to like and buy them a lot. (Full of sugars, additives, preservatives, and all kinds of crap) Many think they are the easy and fast way to cook a quick meal with the least effort of seasoning, but I've stopped using those over 20 years ago - never liked anything marinated or seasoned, and then allergies limited it further (I don't miss them, but rather just annoyed to find those to make up a large portion of the meat selections in many shops).

Mince meats, including various fat percentage options of beef mince (e.g. 7% fat, 10%, 17%), mixed mince meats of pork+beef 20% fat, mixed mince of beef+pork 23% fat, lamb mince 14-15% fat, sheep mince 15% fat (varies also), chicken mince is a lot leaner, so is reindeer, for example.

The sheep farmers here say that the Finn sheep's meat is quite lean, as their fat isn't marbled into the meat, but there are also other sheep breed farmers here. And in fact, my Aussie husband, who was used to the leaner sheep & lamb back home, has complained several times that some sheep and lamb meat here is very fatty. So are the pork meats you can find on the supermarkets' meat counters & the prepackaged meats.

I'm glad to see that lamb and sheep are more readily available in supermarkets here, too, also in organic variety, but we often buy our vegetables and meats from those Reko circles that were mentioned in previous posts. Here those farmers show up once a week on a parking lot regularly, where you can pick up whatever you ordered via the groups facebook site, or you can also just see if they have extras left and buy them without preordering.
There are also a few organic and general farmer websites where you can order stuff online and get it delivered. And many smaller farms (we seriously don't have any massive farms here, compared to the scale of the US or Australia, for example) also have their own websites and fb sites for taking orders and delivering/shipping.

Some sites for local and/or organic foods from farmers - collective sales through website or links within, to contact the farmers directly:
https://ruokaasuomesta.fi/
[url]https://www.mättömestari.fi/ostokset/luomulihaa-netista-suoraan-tilalta/[/url]
Sheep farmers with direct sales and info:
https://lammasyhdistys.fi/kuluttajalle/ ... yntitilat/

Also some hereford and highland cattle farmers are in Reko delivery rings and sell meat directly from their farms, can find by googling.
Reindeer and elk are easily found in supermarkets in the freezers, and I dare say some people do eat them pretty often (like us) while others don't because of the slightly higher kg price. In the past years, also seen duck, pheasant and other birds in the freezers.
Some supermarket meat counters offer various less common meats like horse, goat, duck or hare when in season.

Finland is also very much a dairy-loving and dairy-producing country. Milks, creams, yoghurts, quarks, cheese, butters, all come in various fat percentages (and low and no lactose options), and with quite a selection in most shops, even smaller ones. Eggs, and even quail eggs are available in shops. Duck eggs also available from some webshops and from Reko ring farmers' markets.
If you want higher fat and more protein, you'll probably like quarks (rahka in Finnish) and Turkish yoghurts, that are available everywhere. (Just check your own dietary requirements of course and compare to the contents info of each product here.) Just thought I'll mention these, as those are staples in low and no-carb diets.

Nuts are available in all supermarkets and shops year round, both prepackaged and in big supermarkets also in self-service options for mixing and matching in a bag yourself,sold by weight. Larger towns also have a few shops specialized in nuts and spices and dried fruits etc.
I've seen avocadoes available year-round in supermarkets, same goes for other more 'exotic' fruits.

Olive and coconut oils, as well as many other oils like avocado oil, and coconut milks, are also available almost everywhere nowadays. I remember some 15-20 years ago, it was more difficult to find quality coconut oil easily, while nowadays it's in all shops from various brands. And if can't find some special oils or seeds for some reason in your local shops, you can also order them online.


So I'd say it should be pretty easy to follow a keto diet here, especially because all products sold in shops have clear markings of their contents, ingredients, etc. And because there are a lot of other special diets around (and low carb and no-carb are still reasonably popular here).
I personally always buy local produce, and organic most of the time, not imported stuff for meats or veggies. Also very used to checking every ingredients list and contents of all items while shopping due to various allergies and product/ingredient restrictions.
Joha mie sanoi, vaikken mittää virkkant.


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