Food Pharmacy

Boost your immune system with our anti-inflammatory online course.

We’ve never made ourselves any business cards, which is probably for the best because we wouldn’t really know what to write on them. Maybe something like ”writers” and ”bloggers”.  And now, as of two days ago, we’re also ”podcasters”. In addition to all the above, we’ve made an anti-inflammatory online course. But we couldn’t really call ourselves ”anti-inflammatory online influencers”, or could we…?

Anyway, instead of printing business cards, we’ll just take this opportunity to tell you all about our course here on the blog. Our guess is that there are many happy health enthusiasts out there, who bought our cookbook and now want to know more about the connection between intestinal bacteria, intestinal flora, and the immune system, but don’t have the time to read our first book.

If that sounds like you, then check out the course! It’s sort of a simplified version of Food Pharmacy’s book Food Pharmacy: A Guide to Gut Bacteria, Anti-inflammatory Foods, and Eating for Health, along with pictures from the book’s ”important facts” section, many delicious recipes, a week-long menu, and a lot of fun short videos. And unlike the book, it ends with an interactive section in which you get to start eating foods that will strengthen your immune system and intestinal flora.

Sounds like something you’d like to try? Or maybe something you would give as a gift to a friend/relative/ballet teacher?

If so, check out the course here.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Recipes

Luke Skywalker’s cinnamon buns.

Yesterday was Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden. Obviously, the best day to check out the recipe from our cookbook and make the world’s best cinnamon buns. Unlike many other bun recipes, this one is filled with superpowers for your Luke Skywalkers (the good bacteria in your intestine), and they’re every bit as yummy as the middle part of a regular cinnamon bun (yes, the best part). We repeat: these cinnamon buns taste like the middle part of all other cinnamon buns. You know that doughy part that makes the rest of the cinnamon bun taste dry and boring. That’s what our cinnamon buns taste like.

And no, they’re not going in the oven.

”Bun dough”
almost 1 cup cashew nuts
0.5 cup oatmeal flakes
0.5 cup grated coconut
1 pinch of salt
8 fresh dates (pitted)
3-4 teaspoons of water

Filling
almost 1 cup almonds (preferably soaked)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
8 fresh dates (pitted)
1 tablespoon of water

Roast the cashew nuts and the oatmeal in the oven at no more than 100 degrees Celcius for about 10 minutes. Mix the bun dough in a blender, and roll it out between two baking papers. Mix the filling and spread it out on the dough. Roll the dough (like a Swiss roll) and let it cool in the fridge for a while, then cut the roll into slices. Garnish with grated coconut.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

Food Pharmacy – The Podcast is finally here!

We’ve talked about this project for three years, and finally, we took the bull by the horns and did it. It’s about time! If you know any Swedish, feel free to visit iTunes or Acast on your computer, or use the podcast app on your phone. Get some finger exercise and firmly type ”Food Pharmacy-podden” (ok sorry, we’re spelling it out for you, but we just want to make sure you find it).

Today, all roads lead to Food Pharmacy – The Podcast. And in the very first episode, we talk about everything under the sun – why lifestyle choices have a greater influence on your health than your genes, how to deal with health experts and sift through all the advice, and last but not least, Lina’s recipe for… what’s your guess? (ok, go ahead and listen to the episode now).

We will try to release an episode a week, but please do not hesitate to provide us with feedback on the ways we can improve, give input (the same as feedback?), love, topics, you name it. Type your ideas as a comment underneath this post.

Time to listen! You do the listening part, and we will keep our fingers crossed you like it, deal?  Needless to say we’re a bundle of nerves.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

The blog turns 3 today!

We can’t believe it’s been THREE YEARS since we published our very first blog post. Time flies. And at the same time, ONLY three years, it feels like so much longer. We will celebrate all week long, and first off (tomorrow), we have something for you. We know many of you have asked and longed for… A little something for your ears… Something that you can listen to on your way to work, or on your way home from work, or in the kitchen, or while doing your nails, or while removing lice from your child’s head…

The podcast! In Swedish. We promise (or at least hope), someday there will be an English version. But if you know Swedish, be sure to stop by tomorrow for the very first episode of our very first podcast. Can’t wait!

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

The cinema ”Draken” and Gothenburg Book Fair.

Finally in Gothenburg. We’re staying at Scandic Hotel Opalen, 13 floors up. Yesterday, we held a lecture at the cinema Draken. Last time we were at Draken was probably at the Gothenburg Film Festival 1998 (ish). Then we sat in the audience. Last night, we were on the stage. So exciting and a little nerve-wracking.

Today is the first day of the book fair and our schedule is packed. We run around between mainly two stages – Kockteatern and Berså – and also squeeze in some book signings at Bonnier, our publisher. It would of course be super FUN if you came to visit us one of these days. Stop by and talk to us, eat our chocolate cookies, or maybe buy a book.

But now, time for a 360 of our hotel room.

The view.

The unmade bed (which was a bit too hard, well, we didn’t get much sleep last night).

And the door out. That we now intend to open. Time to go!

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

Pasta made from sweet potato.

Look what we found when we went shopping yesterday – sweet potato pasta. Most days, we would have probably passed the vegetable section without even seeing it, but yesterday was one of those days when we had zero inspiration, no time, and four starving family members in the car. We needed a quick fix. And maybe this solution can be considered a really good one?

So, we happily went home to put some mushrooms, garlic and shallots in a frying pan on low temperature and then, at the end, we added shredded sun dried tomatoes, the sweet potatoes, and lots of fresh parsley.

Gah. Sounds good, doesn’t it? This was so much better than bean pasta. Can’t believe we haven’t thought about shredding sweet potatoes ourselves? And for all those moments when you don’t have time or energy to shred yourself, this is the perfect solution. Now we can only hope that they’ll start making the ready-made pasta from organic sweet potatoes asap.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

Three simple tips for a healthy autumn.

On Tuesday, we were honored to give a lecture at the art space Artipelag on Värmdö in the Stockholm Archipelago, for one of the Nordic region’s largest grocery retailers. After the lecture (which went well, thanks for asking), a tall and noble man with an impressive beard walked up to us and thanked us for the lecture.

– I was so inspired to start eating healthier, he said, scratching his head. But I still don’t know where to start?

That feeling of wanting to, but not knowing how, is something that most of us can relate to. You buy a cookbook, but never cook any of the recipes. You buy a jar of green powder that you later have to throw away when the best before date is passed. You’re filled with good ambitions, but nothing happens.

So, we put together a list to the man with the beard, and other lost souls out there. Three simple tips on how to boost yourself during the autumn.

1. Put kale, ginger, water, apple, avocado and lemon into a mixer and press start (don’t mind exact measurements, trust your gut feeling). A green smoothie is the best way to eat a lot of vegetables, with the least amount of effort. You do not have to chop, plane or strip – all you have to do is shop the vegetables before putting them in the mixer. Or, if you struggle with that task too, buy a finished smoothie somewhere. Just make sure it doesn’t contain too much fruit, and ask the staff to put some extra green leaves in your smoothie while they’re at it.

2. Mix at least three colors when you eat vegetables. This is a crazy easy way to raise the nutrition levels in your food. Different colors contain different antioxidants, which additionally have the great ability to strengthen each other if you mix them. So if you do not have any plans to replace your ”taco-friday” ​​with something more healthy in the fall, you can at least decorate it with cucumber, corn and onion.

3. Add a tablespoon of lacto-fermented vegetables next to your food. This is probably the lazy’s shortcut number one. Make sure to always have a jar of lacto-fermented vegetables in the fridge and make it a habit to add two tablespoons with your food. It’s an easy way to increase your nutritional uptake, and it’s a treat for your good bacteria in the intestine.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Debate

Santa Maria’s response: we will reduce the amount of sugar.

On Friday, I emailed Santa Maria about their food, asking why some of their products are mostly based on sugar and water. I was inspired to write by the number of people who, like me, are tired of always having to read the ingredients of everything they buy. Below you’ll find Santa Maria’s response, and after that, my answer to them.

Hello Ann, thanks for your email. We absolutely welcome a continued debate about the content of our food. Santa Maria, of course, wants to make products that both taste good and do good. Therefore, we are intensely working on removing sugar, salt and unnecessary additives from our products. We’ve made a fair bit of progress. Since 2015 we’ve removed 395 tons of sugar and 223 tons of salt from our products. But we’re not done. By 2020, we hope to have reduced our total sugar content by 50%, and salt by 25%, compared to 2014. At the same time, I will say that these ingredients play an important role in many of our products. Not only in terms of taste, but in other qualities as well. For example: There are many different ways to make a spice-rub. Ours originated from an American recipe, in which raw sugar (which is by the way, many times more expensive than refined white sugar) is used for flavor and caramelization. If you want a different type of rub you can of course choose another brand, or make one yourself from scratch.

Last but not least, what would you say about coming to Mölndal, so we can explain more about how we work and also hear your thoughts and ideas about what we can do differently?

Have a nice weekend,
Eva Berglie

My response:

Hi and thanks! You’ve made some exciting progress in removing sugar from your food, though it’s not clear if the 395 tons are per year, or total since 2015. At the least, that’s around 40 grams per Swede.

My thought is that food sold in stores should be safe to eat, even in the long run. We consumers should not have to be ”additive-detectives” reading every ingredient list in the store while shopping, but be confident that, for example, a guacamole is based on avocado and not water, starch, thickeners and chlorophyll. We all have incredible biochemical machinery within us, developed through millions of years of evolution. That machinery needs to be filled with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals to work. In addition, our intestinal bacteria need the fibers you find in real foods (for example avocado). Neither sugar or rendered starch adds any vitamins to the body. When you base your food on processed additives the nutrition levels are too low.

I would love to come to your headquarters sometime when I’m close to Gothenburg. It would be interesting to see how the company works, and my hope is that you are open to hearing our perspective, for example about the research that indicates that high sugar consumption can lead to excess fat in the liver. Problems with fatty livers are increasing worldwide, including among children. Figures from the United States and Europe show that one out of ten children are now affected, which is frightening. Fat in your liver leads to type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. Type 2 diabetes can then cause cardiovascular disease, and is also linked to various cancers.

Personally, I think that you who work in the food industry have great opportunities to improve public health. If the food you produce is good for the human body – for example, if you stop basing your sauces on sugar – fewer children and adults will develop obesity and type 2 diabetes. Maybe start with clearly marking the amount of added sugar on the packaging.

Sincerely,
Ann Fernholm

Ann Fernholm runs the blog annfernholm.se and has written the best-selling book My Sweet Heart. She writes here at Food Pharmacy once a week.



Food Pharmacy

Gothenburg Book Fair, September 29th – October 1st.

Had breakfast with this blurry super team at Nybrogatan 38 this morning. From left to right (be prepared for superlatives):

Linnéa. The best editor in the world.
Anna. The best designer in the world.
Lina and Mia. Yeah, we know you know us by now.
Cilla. The best publisher in the world.

Besides sharing excitement in regards to the latest sales figures, and planning the next book (yes, there are actually plans for that even though they’re only seeds at this point), we talked about next week’s visit to the book fair in Gothenburg, Sweden.

You’re coming? Right? Will be working at the book fair Saturday-Sunday, run between different stages, get interviewed, read, and treat you all to healthy chocolate cookies. And – we would be extremely happy if you wanted to come join us.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Debate

Santa Maria – how to sell (mostly) sugar and salt for 359 sek/kg.

 Recently, I had reasons to look a little closer at the food company Santa Maria’s assortment – they who supply all of Sweden with their ”Friday-tacos”. It led to a thorough examination of their ingredient lists and ended with the email below, which was signed today and sent to Santa Maria.

 

Hi Santa Maria! Since some time back, I’ve followed your business and I’m writing to express my admiration for your sense regarding business. It actually started when I was about to  buy a rub in the store and fell for this one:

Just the word chipotle makes me feel good, but as usual (an acquired work injury), I could not help examining the ingredients:

Sugar. And the nutrition declaration:

34 grams of sugar. Ok? In my opinion, a rub should primarily consist of spices. At first, I was pretty doubtful, I’ll admit that. But then I glanced at the kilo price:

359 sek/kg. It’s quite brilliant. You make a spice-mix where one third is sugar, which has a world-market price of around three SEK, mix it with salt (that I guess is even cheaper), a little lemon peel and other spices and then it becomes a product where sugar and salt are sold for more than a HUNDRED times what it’s worth.

A profit machine

I hope you don’t perceive me as intrusive, but already in the store, I had to visit the site, allabolag.se to check your annual report. Darn, you’re making money – year after year! 217 million in profit and a profit margin of 13.16 percent last year. Economy is not my strong side – but I assume you all are pretty pleased with that? You beat Nordic Sugar’s profit margin of 8.87 percent by far. Arla and Dafgårds are moving in slow-motion with their 4.8 and 6.03 percent.

Your profitability caused some curiosity. How do you get such a viable company in the tough world of food industry?

Chemistry instead of raw ingredients

In your case, it must have been about hiring chemists instead of cooks. Take your guacamole for example. In store, Tóp and you are about the same kilo price, but they have 95 percent avocado in their guacamole while you have succeded to reduce the amounts to 1.5 percent. It’s just to congratulate: of course, it’s better business to sell a hodgepodge colored with chlorophyll (e141), mostly made from water and that gets its consistency with starch and thickeners, than to sell a real guacamole (that also must be cooled). People are so difficult when it comes to additives – but chlorophyll is all natural.

4 percent cheese instead of 62 percent

I bet you also feel satisfied with the composition of the Cheddar Cheese dip. Again, you’re able to have the same price as your competitors, but without spending money on expensive raw ingredients. Your main ingredients: skim milk, water, sunflower oil, modified starch (tapioca), cheddar cheese (4%), salt…

Texas Longhorn’s main ingredients: Water, Cheese (Cheddar cheese (48%), Cheese (14%), Water, Butter, Milk Protein…

A thumb up to the longhorn, who has 15 times more cheese in it’s dip.

Sauces based on water and sugar

The price per kilo on some of your sauces is also impressive. The Pad Thai sauce (124 sek/liter in store), Sweet Chili (52 sek/liter) and American BBQ (96 sek/liter) as some kind of development of ketchup (25 sek/liter). Your sauces costs more than ketchup, but instead of expensive tomato puree, you base the sauces on water and sugar, or sugar and water. At least there is some variation!

Dextrose – the main ingredient of the ”taco-spice”

Then you’ve been very wise when it comes to the presentation of the ingredients in your best-selling ”taco-spice” (355 sek/kg):

At first I wondered why you had put chilipeppers, cumin and garlic into the group ”spices”. But of course, it’s so that dextrose won’t be first on the list. If you had presented the spices separately (as you still do in parentheses), all spices had fallen after dextrose. Then the list would be:

Dextrose, onions (19%), chilli peppers (11%), cumin (10%), garlic (6%), salt, oregano (4%), yeast extract, potato starch, potato fiber, antifungal agent (e551), seasoning extracts (peppers).

Clearly, the spice mix sells better if you’re able to conceal that it’s based primarily on sugar. One tip: oregano is also a spice, which you can put in the parenthesis (before dextrose).

I’m sorry this all became so lengthy. Before I finish, I just want to say that I miss a part of your Tex Mex assortment: the minced meat itself. Can that also be made out of water, sugar and modified starch?

Sincerely,

Ann Fernholm

Ps. I eventually bought another rub that gave me more spices for the buck.

Ann Fernholm runs the blog annfernholm.se and has written the best-selling book My Sweet Heart. She writes here at Food Pharmacy once a week.