Good day! Well, actually, it's quite a grey, cold day here in Norway.
4 years ago I became a vegetarian. 1.5 years ago I became vegan. Shortly after that I started eating a 100% raw 80/10/10 diet. Things have been amazing, and my health is increasing by the day. Life is beautiful, and I'm happier than I could ever imagine.. And it's like it's just the tip of the iceberg!
That being said, I wanted to talk a little bit about how it is to live in a cold climate, especially here in Norway, and other European countries.
When I started my new lifestyle my taste-buds really needed some serious adjusting, and I didn't enjoy the food as much as I did on my cooked vegan diet. The curries, pizzas, pastas etc. Regardless, I had so much momentum and inspiration (thanks in large to Dan the Man!) that it didn't matter. I was heading for super-health. Every month following my transition, it got better. Everything started tasting better, and now I can taste the most subtle differences between each bite of food i take. But alas, therein lies the challenge.
I go to the supermarket every third day or so to buy my "fresh" produce. Sadly, there is no real markets in my vicinity, and in fact, the only place you could find a semi-acceptable market in Norway would be in one of the cities. Living in the city is of course not possible for me, since I can't take all that energy. The cars, pollution, noise.. and most of all, the people. People with their habits is starting to drive me insane. Perfume stinks, alcohol everywhere, pills being popped, drugstore selling the worst of the worst, supermarkets selling 95% non-food, people handling animals like they were possessions... Being around people and being in supermarkets etc. destroy me. After an hour or so I get a headache, get dizzy, and of course the food I ate before is everywhere. Everyone is stuffing their face with it, blissfully unaware of the fact that it is destroying their body and the earth along with it. The cravings hit me each time I see a pizza or something like that. It never happened while I was in Thailand for two months living mostly on mangoes and when every meal was a dream. It's ALL about referencing.
The worst thing about this is the fact that it is IMPOSSIBLE to find food here. So, you're hungry. What can you do? The apples have no sweetness, and are old. The pears rot away before they ever get any tasty. The mangoes are ultra-expensive. (I would need to use 2 days worth of money for food for a single meal of it.), the bananas are green (when they get a single spot they're thrown away because people don't buy them!). I can go on and on about practically all of the fruits on the market.. There simply is not food to be found for anyone interested in a filling, healthy, organic meal.
So what does my day consist of? I start my day with water that tastes horrible and dead. Even when run through a cleaning system. Norway is known for good water, but personally, it's not much better than the rest of the tap-water you get elsewhere. Buying bottled water is even worse. Then I eat sour and watery grapes (get a melonbelly). After a while I make some orange juice since that's the only way you can use the usually tasteless oranges you can buy (get some more melonbelly). Later I drink a smoothie of bananas that taste absolutely nothing like a banana when eaten in their natural form, and most of which never get sweet, even when starting to ferment. I probably take another smoothie later on before a dinner made up of organic greens and tomatoes. I can definitely make some tasty dishes, but it is usually way to expensive to even think about doing.
Now, the melonbelly is another big challenge. When I say melonbelly, I mean pain in my stomach and up to my right shoulder. It happens every time i eat sweet watery fruit such as grapes, oranges (in juice form), mangoes, watermelon (which btw. has _zero_ taste at the moment). From what I can make of it, it stems from a deficiency in chromium. Chromium is a mineral you should get when eating mineral rich organic greens and fruits. This is of course impossible to find in Norway, since everything is packaged, chemicalized, monopolized and nutrient deficient to the point of absurdity. I truly have my doubts about these so called "organic" greens as well, but I eat them anyway. Even though they are usually 2 times the price of the chemicalized crap they usually sell. I'm seriously considering using a chromium supplement, since I'm starting to see no other choice.
Now that we've covered the food options, let's turn to the weather. Most of the year it is below literally unlivable here. As long as there is less than 12 degrees celsius, it is my opinion that we would have some serious trouble staying alive at all. We do have 2 beautiful months in summer, where you MAY be lucky and get some really warm days. Having to stay inside most of the year around all the electricity, totally cut of from nature is a disaster. Not being able to exercise because it's too cold outside also takes it's toll.
Sure, you can always cope. Go to the gym, buy super-duper expensive Medjool dates and mangoes if you have the money, light a fire in the fireplace so you don't freeze to death. But why the heck would I want to do all this just to live here in Norway? It's insane.
I'm honestly wondering how anyone can live here, especially people who live on a natural diet.
Wow. This post sounds negative. It's not actually that depressing though. As I stated at the beginning of the post, I'm truly happier than I've ever been, and I can see how my life is truly blessed. I'm grateful for everything that has happened because it has made my who I am now, and given me the conviction to leave Norway forever!
In september, me and my brother Mikkel, is moving to the canary islands. We'll be taking our newly bought bikes and will ride across several islands looking for the best place to rent. No city, no madness. Growing our own vegetables, and buying our (hopefully) tasty fruits and a market. We're working our asses of this summer to get enough money to make this possible, but even if we have to camp there living off cheap bananas for a year, we have no choice. It has to be better than what Norway has to offer us at this stage in our lives.
Mads Gisle Johnsen
Slovakia is no win either, fruit quality is just so bad and is often tasteless especially in the winter and it´s really hard to get organic produce. I basically live on bananas, juices, raisins, potatoes, barley and vegetables as all the other fruit is unripe, tasteless or overprized.
England is little bit better, fruit is cheaper but again lots of it is unripe, tasteless, but you can still get cheap ripe mangos if they are in season and organic produce if you can afford.
It´s quite hard to eat just fruits and vegetables in these countries, especially in winter times.
I agree. If I were to live here permanently, I would probably use brown rice and sweetpotatoes to get enough calories. It's difficult when not even the bananas have enough calories. They make you full, but not satisfied. There's also the problems of not getting enough sunshine most year around in these cold countries. D vitamin is so important, and without it, we're gonna have trouble using a lot of other nutrients as well.
I lived in Bratislava for a number of years. I was lucky in that I lived close to Miletičova market where they had a great assortment of fruits and veggies. Furthermore prices were very affordable. Even in the winter months they nearly always had bananas, oranges and apples. I don't and didn't at the time eat exclusively raw F&V but was still able to eat a significant of raw F&V even during the winter, though I had to be careful to stock up. The supermarkets nearly always had bananas. Mangoes are disappointing in Central Europe. I've never had a good one there.
I also eat majority of my calories from fruits and I can get lots of them, it´s just that quality is very poor, most fruit doesn´t taste sweet and even ripe bananas are not that good.
It's the same in Czech rep.
Well I've only been to Norway twice, but I can say that it is by far the most magical country I've ever visited. One of my greatest wishes is to go live there. But yes, finding good fresh produce can be really hard, not to mention the high prices. I guess this really can get frustrating :(
Good luck on your journey :)
Sounds like you need a good banana rotation to get you by! A lot of stores start to throw out or discount ripe bananas. Just buy a lot at a time. :)
Oh and move to Thailand! :)
I used to feel that way about being in supermarkets and such, feeling overwhelmed by all the (often negative) energy. Instead, I now act so positive and happy, lifting everyone else up instead of letting them bring me down. :)
Easier said than done, perhaps. Try it. :)
Indeed! Banana rotation is crucial to our survival :) We're on a good roll now though, so we always have ripe ones, but that doesn't mean they taste any good, or is that sweet. Sadly they never really get any tasty.. There have been times when we've had no bananas however, and then I really start feeling tired and depressed, so thank god we even have bananas up here in the north.
That being said.. Bananas all day long? God.. Bananas and dates might be high in sugar and tastes nice, but I wouldn't want to have them as my staple.. It makes me feel so heavy compared to other fruits. Sweet watery fruits ftw. :)
Norway has so much going for it except its location and dependence on oil.. We need to chisel it out and tow it down South!
I agree. ... we would need one hell of a bike trailer :)
I hope you'll share all about your Canary Island adventures!