The Viking Craze: Are You Ready to Don a Horned Helmet and Lose Weight?

  • By Dr. Anand Thakkar
  • 16 Mar, 2016
You slip into (or rather, force yourself into) your jeans, suck in your gut, zip the zipper shut, stand up . . . and hear an awful, tearing sound.

You either need new jeans or need to lose weight.

While the latter seems less appealing, you finally realize the early morning Frappuccino’s, mid-morning bagels with Brie spread, noontime Spaghetti Bolognese with meatballs, mid-afternoon chocolate bar, evening hamburger, and late night ice-cream sundae have got to go.

It’s time to lose weight.

But how?

Paleo? Fail. Mediterranean? Fail. 5:2? Fail. Atkins? Fail. You’ve tried all the fad diets and none of them have left you even remotely thinner. It’s hopeless, right?

Maybe not. There’s a new “fad” diet—with a rich history in the Nordic culture—that is currently gripping the nation and changing the way people think about food and health. In many ways, this diet may offer an "anti-fad" approach, because its common-sense approach goes far beyond mere trendiness.

The Viking Diet Defined

The Viking Diet—designed by chefs René Redzepi and Claus Meyer—originated in 2004. Redzepi and Meyer called together a symposium to address the world's preoccupation with processed foods, highly refined grains, additives, and mass-produced meat.

Together, the chefs created a “Manifesto for the New Nordic Kitchen” that aimed to:

Express the purity, freshness, simplicity, and ethics associated with the Nordic region
Reflect the changing seasons in each meal
Combine demand for good taste with modern knowledge of health and well-being
After signing the manifesto, the chefs created a diet that included the following:

More plants, berries, and nuts
Less meat
More aquatic foods (fish, seaweed, shellfish)
Sounds pretty simple to follow, right? The diet also encourages dieters to eat foraged plants and wild meats whenever possible. Scared you will miss out on grains? Don’t be. The Viking Diet also allows you to consume legumes, rye, spelt, oats, and barley.

In short, the diet eliminates processed foods, highly refined grains, additives, and mass-produced meat.

Health Benefits

When the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Life Sciences caught on to the Viking Diet's potential, researchers launched a study and found that this new diet offered incredible health benefits:

Healthier body mass Index (BMI)
Lowered blood pressure
Decreased body fat
Increased satiety
Decreased amount of toxins and carcinogens in the body
The Viking Diet won't make you look like a twig. Instead, it promotes healthy eating habits and refocuses attention on physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In other words—like most truly sensible diets, the Viking Diet encourages wholesome nutrition instead of crash diets that lead to health problems later.

Pros

Worried you’ll feel deprived? That’s not the diet’s aim. The Viking Diet isn’t about depriving people of their favorite foods; it’s about consuming healthier, more filling, satisfying versions.

The diet comes with a number of pros. Consider just a few:

You can eat as many vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and aquatic foods as you wish.
You can drink wine.
Instead of depriving you, the Viking Diet will leave you feeling full and satisfied.

Cons

Although the Viking Diet comes with quite a few pros, there are a few downsides to consider as well:

You can’t binge on cookies, crackers, and chips.
You can’t consume dairy.
Luckily, you can easily transform the cons into pros and learn how to bake new sweets and treats without additives and processed ingredients.

Exercise

Although the Viking Diet manifesto is more focused on nutrition than physical fitness, every heart-healthy diet should include a certain amount of exercise. Regular exercise comes with a wide range of benefits, such as:

Boosts energy levels
Improves mood
Controls weight
Combats health problems and disease
Promotes better sleep
Enhances sex drive
Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Try incorporating fun exercises into your physical fitness schedule.

Barre – A combination of Pilates, yoga, and ballet, Barre improves balances and focuses on isometric strength training (holding the body still while contracting a certain set of muscles). Most Barre instructors use upbeat tempos and fun dance moves in each 60-minute class.
Zumba – A combination of dance and aerobics, Zumba uses a diverse collection of choreography (mambo, hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, and merengue) to keep your heart rate up for 60 minutes.
Kickboxing – A combat sport that incorporates kicking and punching for 30 to 60 minutes.
Yoga – A physical, spiritual, and mental practice that uses a set of poses to improve balance, breathing, and body strength.
You can also try roller-skating, trampolining, jump roping, or hula hooping to get your heart rate up and keep a smile while you’re at it.

If you’re ready to jump on the Norse bandwagon and notice a greater vitality, choose the Viking Diet. Try the diet for 30 to 60 days and see how different you feel. If you want more information, contact your local weight loss center to set up a personal consultation today.
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