Food Cultured | What eating the Nordic diet in Denmark taught me about real food.
Join cartoonist Patrick O’Toole in this humorous 5-minute animated film about eating the Nordic diet, as he retells his journey from growing up in the American food culture of the 80's, to now living in Denmark where people still prepare food from scratch everyday.
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What eating the Nordic diet in Denmark taught me about real food

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About the film

Join cartoonist Patrick O’Toole in this humorous 5-minute animated film as he retells his journey from growing up in the eroded American food culture of the 70’s and 80’s, to now living in Denmark where food traditions remain strong in the Nordic diet and people still prepare food from scratch everyday. This new perspective inspires he and his wife to re-examine their own diet and begin taking steps towards healthier and more responsible eating habits. Along the way they try to follow 10 realistic, but still ambitious ground rules to help them navigate the complex and sometimes contradictory food landscape, and ultimately lead them to realize that some of the best advice has been sitting in front of them all along.

1. Never cheap out on food.

Why? Because there's an old saying that “without your health you have nothing”. We’re willing to bet on that.

2. Eat a plant-based diet.

Why? Because evidence points to vegetarians living longer, healthier lives.

3. Eat a lot of the medium-sized, fatty fish.

Why? Because many medium-sized fish contain loads of healthy omega acids, without the heavy metals that can build up in larger fish.

4. Make meals from scratch and snack on whole foods.

Why? Because your body knows what to do with real food. And when we do buy pre-made things we do our best to make sure they only have essential, pronounceable ingredients. Fun fact, peanut butter only requires one.

5. Stay away from red and processed meat.

Why? Because whether it’s the red meat itself, or the lack of plants as a result, too much red and especially processed meat has been conclusively show to increase the the risk of getting heart disease and cancer. Limiting red meat is also the single best thing you can do as an individual to reduce greenhouse emissions from factory farming.

6. That thing about red meat... except sometimes when its served by friends or family.

Why? Because a little red meat won’t kill us, and the social aspect of eating shouldn’t be underestimated when trying to stick to a healthy diet.

7. Spend the extra money on organic whenever it's an option.

Why? Because being organic alone doesn’t necessarily mean that it tastes better, or provides better nutrition, but it certainly contains less pesticides, that haven’t “yet” been proven harmful. We are going the better safe than sorry route here.

8. Spend the extra money on local and in-season whenever it's and option.

Why? Because things grow locally and in-season tend to taste better and supporting our local food economy just makes sense.

9. Approach eating with a 90% success rate expectation.

Why? Because we're in it for the long game. Instead of falling on an off the wagon of impossible-to-follow fad diets, for us it makes more sense to allow ourselves a ``less than perfect`` weekend here and there. The trick of course is being rigid with the healthy eating 90% of the time.

10. Try to follow the latest evidence even if it goes against a long held belief or habit.

Why? Because we don’t think any single piece of food is worth compromising our long term health - even bacon! And of course, if history has shown us anything it's that many aspects of current food advice will be proven wrong or adjusted as new studies come out. But for us, we’d rather be on the side of good science, and adjust our beliefs as we go, than dismiss important findings because of our own inflexibility and bad habits.

About the filmmaker

Patrick O’Toole is the cartoonist behind the Alphabetimals children’s educational brand. He grew up in Rochester, N.Y. and went to college at nearby Syracuse University. He and his wife now live in Aarhus, Denmark with their children where he works as a cartoonist and digital experience designer.

Interesting in working together? Contact Patrick on LinkedIn.

© 2018 Patrick O’Toole