Food Pharmacy

Question from reader: What do you mean by “normal consumption”?

A couple of days ago, we published part 2 of our serial about soy. The same day, one of our readers asked what we meant by “normal or moderate consumption of soy”. Normal for whom? To the average meat eating swede, soy is the sauce that comes with sushi, or perhaps, one of many ingredients in a casserole. Vegetarians and vegans consume a lot more soy products, in the form of tofu, tofu-based sandwich fillings, and green soybeans. Japanese people consume even more soy-based foods, but also more iodine-rich foods,  like edible seaweed. The question remains, how do you define “normal”?

Well, we asked Anki:

Anki, what do you mean by “normal” consumption of soy?

– It depends on the person. In this context, I (Anki) would say that it’s a non-excessive intake – from a physiological perspective, consuming soy as “food” and part of a balanced diet, and not as a dietary supplement (in extreme amounts), is considered normal.

Does that mean that you can eat vegan, soy yogurt instead of regular yogurt, and tofu instead of meat everyday, and still be on the safe side?

– With respects to the phytoestrogens, and and if you’re healthy, yes.

Here’s part 1 and 2:
Serial about soy.
Serial about soy (part 2).

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our book in Polish here and professor Stig Bengmark’s synbiotic here.



Food Pharmacy

Podcast.

Yesterday, we squeezed into a small (and very hot!) cell-like room at Acast (a platform for podcasts), put on our headphones and recorded an episode of a podcast called Speaking of Stories. So much fun! Talked ourselves hoarse about inflammation and praised our lasagna (you’ll find it in our cookbook). The episode will be released in August, more or less at the same time as our cookbook. We promise to keep you posted.

Back on the sunny streets of Stockholm, all of a sudden, it hit us:

Isn’t it time to get on with it and start a podcast of our own? You know, once and for all? What are we waiting for?

We decided to spend the summer thinking it over. Giving the idea a shot. So please, hit us up with ideas, suggestions and valuable input. Message us below, or send us your thoughts to info@foodpharmacy.se.

Or, if you would like to sponsor this project and help “enhance the public health”, please get in touch, hehe.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our book in Polish here and professor Stig Bengmark’s synbiotic here.



Food Pharmacy

Pesticides in the fruit basket.

During the summer we eat more fruit and vegetables than ever. That’s all good, but if you’re not lucky enough to have banana and orange trees in your backyard, choosing organic is the way to go – at least if you don’t want to eat pesticides with your fruits and vegetables.

According to the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC or Naturskyddsföreningen), some of the worst when it comes to pesticides are grapes, citrus fruits (oranges, mandarin and satsuma oranges, clementines, grapefruits, pomelo and tangelo), apples, pears and bananas. Back in 2011, a non-organic fruit basket was tested for pesticide residue, and a shocking 9 out of 10 fruits contained pesticides.

Apples, for example, are one of the most popular fruits in Sweden, and we consume an average of 15 kg per person every year. In 2011, approximately 80% of the apples eaten in Sweden were imported. And even though the Swedish climate is suitable for pear cultivation, only 4% of the pears we consume are grown and harvested in Sweden.

But remember, pesticides are hardly ever found in organically grown fruits and vegetables.

To sum up: go bananas, but always go organic!

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our book in Polish here and professor Stig Bengmark’s synbiotic here.



Food Pharmacy

Serial about soy (part 2).

Should you avoid soy? Does it have a negative effect on the hormonal balance? Or quite the opposite? Is fermented soy better than unfermented soy? Do you contribute to the destruction of tropical rainforests by eating soy? And what about GMO and soy? Welcome to part 2 of a serial about… yes, of course: soy.

Our dear intern Sebastian, who studies to become a diet and nutrition advisor, did it again – he asked clever questions about soy to the nutritionist Anki Sundin. And, just as last time, the conversation below revolves around the soybean and other soybean products, such as soy sauce, tofu and soy milk.

– Can soy interfere with the hormonal balance in pregnant women?

– No, absolutely not. If consumed moderately, by healthy women with normal thyroid function.

– There’s phytic acid in soy. From my understanding, phytic acid inhibits the absorption of minerals in our intestine. Is that something to be concerned about?

– If you don’t have iron deficiency, or other mineral deficiency, you have nothing to worry about. Phytic acid will not completely inhibit the absorption, only partially. But if you know that you have some kind of mineral deficiency, I’d encourage you to learn more about food composition. In that case, you should perhaps think twice before combining iron-rich foods, like a bean stew, with foods high in phytic acid, since you need to help the body to absorb as much iron as possible.

– Does phytic acid act as an antioxidant?

– Yes.

– Do soy foods negatively affect the thyroid gland?

– As matters stand, if you have normal thyroid levels, I wouldn’t say so. But for people who suffer from some kind of thyroid disease, it may be a good idea to limit the intake of soy. That’s because soy protein interacts with the drug Levaxin, often used as treatment for reduced thyroid function. So, in some cases, you may want to avoid adding too much soy to your diet. But, I must emphasize, if you have normal thyroid levels, there’s absolutely no need to worry.

– Is it true that a large intake of soy may increase the need for iodine? I’ve read that soy isoflavones (a type of phytoestrogen) take up some of the the iodine that the body would normally use for thyroid hormone production (which regulates your metabolism).

– Yes, that’s a candidate mechanism. But what really happens when soy protein interacts with the drug Levaxin, is that soy inhibits the absorption of Levaxin in the intestine.

– But should I increase the intake of iodine if I eat a lot of soy?

– According to general dietary guidelines, you don’t have to. And as matters stand, I don’t believe normal or moderate consumption of soy would increase the need for iodine to the extent that we should be worried about it. But a candidate mechanism for the interaction of soy with iodine is that the phytoestrogens in soy bind the iodine and limit its availability. Iodine is essential to the production of thyroid hormones, which leads to the question: is it necessary for someone who eats a lot of soy, to also increase the intake of iodine? However, if that is the case, how much soy we’re actually talking about, and how much extra iodine, is still very uncertain.

– From our conversation, I understand you’re not opposed to people eating soy foods, as long as it’s in moderate amounts. Is that right?

– Yes. I’m definitely not opposed to people eating soy. But, from an ethical and environmental perspective, I do question the massive amounts of soy grown solely to feed animals.

Thank you once again, Sebastian. Can’t wait to hear more about this. Stay tuned.

Here’s part 1:

Serial about soy.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our book in Polish here and professor Stig Bengmark’s synbiotic here.



Food Pharmacy

Stig’s synbiotics for adults with ADHD.

Exciting news!

Last fall, professor Stig’s bacteria and fibre supplement Synbiotic15 was chosen for a randomized clinical study at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. The purpose was to learn more about treatments for children with ADHD. In the midst of it all, we interviewed Catharina Lavebratt, head of the trial, and asked why she had chosen Stig’s synbiotics for the study. Happily for us who eat them, she said that the main focus of the study, and the reason she decided to use Stig’s synbiotics, was their proven anti-inflammatory effects.

We know that Karolinska Institutet has wished to expand the scope of the study to include adults. But since it’s difficult to finance research that is not funded by pharmaceutical companies, its future has been hanging in the balance. Finally the other day, we were informed that the scope has now expanded to include both children and adults. Exciting! Good! Important!

And by the way, don’t forget the 15% discount code sommar17 when you shop at supersynbiotics.se. The code is valid until July 2nd, and cannot be combined with other offers.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our book in Polish here and professor Stig Bengmark’s synbiotic here.



Recipes

The world’s most amazing Midsummer layer cake (bonus: it’s also healthy).

Today, we’re making the world’s most amazing (and trying to one’s patience) Swedish Midsummer layer cake. You have a terrible number of steps ahead, but it will all be worth it in the end. It’s all forgiven when you hear the guests’ applause.

Step 1: Pancakes
Beat 3 large eggs and add to 1.5 cup buckwheat flour, along with 2 cups plant-based milk of your choice, almost 1 cup water and a pinch of salt. Pan-fry at low temperature in coconut oil, and curse out loud when the first one breaks. Remember, it’s quantity and not quality – the guests will never notice one or two broken pancakes under all the layers of caramel sauce and coconut whipped cream.

Step 2: Green bananas
Peel and slice the bananas. Let’s just say, we wish you a very warm good luck.

Step 3: Mashed berries
This step is simple. Use a fork to mash 500 grams of berries of your choice.

Step 4: The caramel sauce of your dreams
Made quickly and geschwint. Place 10 dates (maybe a few more if they’re small), almost 1 cup plant-based milk of your choice, and a pinch or two of pure vanilla powder in a blender (don’t forget to press start).

Step 5: Coconut whipped cream
Place a can of coconut milk in the fridge, and then use a whisk to beat the “solid” part by hand. Are you still there? Keep your hopes up, you’ll make it through.

Step 6: Framework
Start with one pancake and cover it with a thin layer of bananas. Add another pancake, and spread mashed berries. And on top of the next pancake, why not place 1/3 of the caramel sauce? Then 1/3 of the whipped cream. And then you keep on going until there are no pancakes left.

Step 7: Roof
Finish with a final layer of the coconut whipped cream, and decorate generously with fresh berries.

Step 8: Eat
Congratulations – after thousands of hours, you’re finally ready for Swedish Midsummer. We were thinking, it might be a good idea to share your cake with friends and family, but of course, that’s completely up to you.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our book in Polish here and professor Stig Bengmark’s synbiotic here.



Recipes

Vegan eggplant herring.

Congratulations all you vegans – this year’s Swedish Midsummer we have a treat for you: super creamy vegan pickled herring with eggplant, homemade mayonnaise, mint, fennel seeds, lemon and parsley.

By the way, this is not the first time we decide to make vegan herring for Midsummer. But it’s the first time we actually do it. And instead of herring, we use eggplant. Okay, we get it. You think “eggplant herring” sounds odd? We do too, and that’s why we have to try it.

Vegan eggplant herring
(2 jars)

2 eggplants
1 cup creamy oat fraîche
0.5 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
almost 1 cup cold-pressed rapeseed oil
0.5 cup fresh parsley
0.5 cup fresh mint
2 spring onions
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp fennel seeds
zest from 1 organic lemon + 1 tbsp freshly squeezed juice
a pinch or two of salt
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Peel and cut the eggplants into sticks. Cut the sticks into cubes or “herring-sized” pieces. Steam for 5 minutes (place a strainer over boiling water), they should be al dente. Rinse in cold water and let drain.

The mayonnaise is surprisingly easy to make. Combine soy milk, mustard and apple cider vinegar in a blender. Then add the oil gradually while the blender is going, and let it go until thickens.

Finely chop the herbs. Shred the spring onions. Finely chop the garlic. Use a mortar to crush the fennel seeds. Combine it all and season with salt and pepper, and maybe some extra lemon. Add the eggplant. Transfer to two clean jars and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

And by the way, this is not our recipe. We got if from Therese Elgquist. You know, Therese “The Green New Salad” Elgquist, who has helped us with our cookbook. And who has written this lovely cookbook (unfortunately only in Swedish). We asked her for a simple vegan herring recipe, and as always, she came up with something incredible. What can we say, some people have it all.

Creamy oat fraîche?
Well, yes, unfortunately it’s hard to find a good plant-based Fraîche. Oatly’s Creamy Oat Fraîche contains some questionable ingredients (a reader told us it contains organic palm oil), but unlike many other options, it does not contain citric acid. We did not have time to try different options this time (Midsummer is the day after tomorrow), but if you come across a great alternative, please let us know! Or perhaps it’s just as tasty without the oat fraîche?

Tomorrow, we’re baking the world’s most incredible cake for Swedish Midsummer. Stop by the grocery store today and pick up buckwheat flour, plant-based milk of your choice, eggs, a box of fresh dates, pure vanilla powder, lots of berries, coconut whipped cream and three green bananas.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our book in Polish here and professor Stig Bengmark’s synbiotic here.



Food Pharmacy

Summer sale for the immune system.

Just received an email saying anyone who places an order for Stig’s synbiotics (read more about synbiotics here) will get a 15% discount. And, you know, it’s probably best to stock up before summer, so you don’t run out of synbiotics while on a faraway island way out in the ocean, or on a camel’s back in the Sahara desert.

Regardless of what exciting summer plans you have, secure the discount by entering the code sommar17 when you shop at supersynbiotics.se. The code is valid until July 2nd, and cannot be combined with other offers.

End of message. Back to the final proofread of the cookbook (which will be sent to the printers T-O-M-O-R-R-O-W).

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our book in Polish here and professor Stig Bengmark’s synbiotic here.



Recipes

Coconut ice cream with banana and chocolate.

Since our families ask for ice cream more or less every single day during summer time, it’s safe to have an emergency set of coconut ice cream popsicles in the freezer. Today’s recipe is sweetened solely with green bananas. In other words, you never ever have to say no.

Reach for 4 bananas, 0.5 cup coconut cream, 1 tbsp raw cacao and 2 tbsp cacao nibs. And, you know, one of those popsicle molds (if you have no idea what we’re talking about, there’s a picture below).

Start by peeling the bananas. Let’s just say, we wish you a very warm good luck.

Put bananas and coconut cream in the blender and mix until combined. Remove 1/3 of the mixture from the blender and put aside. Mix the other 2/3 with 1 tbsp cacao.

Oooh, this is an important (aka: tasty) part of the process – add 2 tbsp cacao nibs to the mixture you’ve put aside (the one without cacao).

Combine the two colors in popsicle molds. Ask the children for help (if there are any around). Maybe they won’t turn out absolutely perfect with a little help from the kids, but try not to bother.

Well, okay. When the kids get distracted, you can add the finishing touch yourself.

Cover and put in the freezer. Wait for a small eternity (at least 6 hours), or let them rest overnight. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving, or the popsicles will not come out of their molds (we just broke a stick due to lack of patience).

Wow, that’s incredibly tasty. Especially the chocolate ice cream. Actually, don’t bother dividing the mixture in two. Next time we’ll just add cacao and cacao nibs to the whole thing.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our book in Polish here and professor Stig Bengmark’s synbiotic here.

Recipe: Erica Palmcrantz Aziz ”Superfood boost”.



Food Pharmacy

And so it happens.

Sometimes you doubt yourself. When you’ve prepared chickpea balls instead of meatballs for dinner, and the kids won’t even try the food. When they say you’re mean, just because you don’t buy Fanta. When they look you deep in the eyes and tell you that they want to move in with Anastasia, the girl in the second grade at school, because her family has blood pudding for dinner every night (a Swedish dish made of animal blood, remember?).

Let’s be honest here. In moments like these, of course, there’s doubt. We could be on the wrong track. All the effort and the struggle, gosh hope not, could have the opposite effect. What if our kids become obsessed with sugar, just because they live in a sugar-free home? What if they will get fed up one day and rise in rebellion, just because we’ve said no when they’ve asked for soda, and fed them kale chips on Friday nights?

And so it happens. It’s one of those ordinary Monday evenings in June, when one of our 9-year-olds goes to the kitchen to make a smoothie for dinner – with baby spinach, frozen blueberries, banana, yoghurt, avocado, synbiotics (the full dose!), and Vitamin D. And that’s when the penny drops.

The trick is not to force your kids to eat food they don’t like, or to forbid them from eating things they like.

The trick is to lead by example.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our book in Polish here and professor Stig Bengmark’s synbiotic here.