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Health & Wellness

The Viking Cold

I'm finally taking a moment to sit down and update the blog a little, in the midst of all my pre-Christmas chaos. I honestly have had so much going on the past couple of weeks that I feel like I haven't had a moment to myself until just now. I have even caught the crazy winter cold that has been going around Stockholm (you know the one that starts in your throat and feels like you swallowed broken glass?) and still haven't been able to settle down. The worst of it is over now, but this cough just won't quit! It's driving me crazy. It's like totally impossible to ride the subway in this city or walk around in the cold and wet Stockholm weather and not catch some kind of nutty virus. I swear, one person in this city gets sick and then it's game over. It rapidly spreads to all the 100 something subway stations and beyond.

I actually think a lot of foreigners like me tend to catch colds here even more easily than native Swedes and have a really hard time fighting them off. I don't know if it has something to do with the difference in germs, viruses, and lack of built-up immunity, or whatever, but when I first moved here I caught like 3 colds in a row and was continually sick for a solid 3-4 months. It was no joke. At the time, I had also heard this rumor of a Polish girl in the school for my Swedish language studies who kept catching these "Viking colds" (as I now call them) for a solid 12 months in a row! Apparently, she got so fed up with being sick that she supposedly moved back home.

Luckily, I am way too stubborn to ever let something like a little illness take me down. So, I'm still here in Stockholm a good seven and a half years later fighting off this dumb Viking cold. However, I think my immune system has built up a bit better against these naughty nordic germs through the years. I actually think whatever I caught this time could've been much worse. I might have even had this same virus strain before because this illness wasn’t nearly as bad as some other doozies that I have had here in the past. I really can't imagine being an immigrant here before the time of antibiotics and modern medicine—or Facetime so that I can visually whine to my mom in the states about how icky I feel when I'm sick. I would've totally been dead several times over by now. I love watching a good period piece and admiring the old-time dresses on TV every once in a while, but that thought alone makes me super glad we are about to hit 2019 pretty soon—fashion be damned.

I haven’t ever caught the Vinterkräksjukan” (the winter vomiting disease or Norovirus) that everyone here talks about, thankfully. I literally just had to knock on my wooden table three times after I wrote that sentence in superstitious protection against it, because it’s so scary. It sounds like THE WORST thing ever. You supposedly feel sick, have vomiting, diarrhea, stomach aches, headaches, and a fever!? It’s like the only thing that illness is missing is some kind of itchy rash and blood coming out of your eyes. NO THANK YOU! Because I was just googling it, I thought I would just share that “The best way to protect yourself against it is to wash your hands, at home as well as at work. Liquid soap is better than hand sanitizer.” according to Sveriges Radio (Sweden’s radio). I couldn’t in good conscience keep that information to myself. So, save us all and wash your hands with real soap people!!!

I’m actually really happy to be hopping on a plane in a few days to head to my parent’s new house in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the holidays. They have just relocated from Chicago and I haven’t even been to visit them there yet! I am planning on it being a few weeks of just maxing, relaxing, hanging with the fam and exploring a new city that Henrik and I have never been to. Supposedly Minnesota is like the Sweden of America because that's where all the Swedish immigrants first settled. It's apparently still a very Scandinavian influenced area of the US. So much so, that my mom actually called me from the grocery store by her house because she was so shocked at the amount of pickled herring (sill) and crispbread (knäckebröd) on the shelves. I think Henrik is probably going to make a killing, being an authentic imported Swede walking around there. Haha!

Sometime during my trip from "Sweden,Sweden" to "Sweden, USA" I’m also hopefully going to be able to rest enough to finally kill off this stupid cough I still have. If anything, Momma Murphy will totally know what to do to nurse me back to health. Mom always knows best. To be honest, she will probably just sit me down and force me to drink more green tea with coconut oil in it. Ever since the woman read a book called “The Coconut Miracle” she is convinced the stuff will cure anything. I just know It’s going to be a very coconut oil covered Christmas break if she has anything to do with it.

If you want to see a bit about my trip to Minneapolis in Minnesota, stay tuned to my Instagram account @slightly.swedish! I know I won’t be able to resist posting a few Instastories or pictures here and there at the very least. I will definitely try to blog a little more about my travels and adventures when I get back though. This is going to be my last blog post of 2018, so I am going to sign off now and wish that you all have happy and healthy holidays and a great New Year!

CocoNUTS!

I'm officially crazy for coconut yogurt!

I am lactose intolerant and a firm believer that milk products are inflammatory, so I haven't actually had real yogurt for breakfast in forever! I'm so glad the world is changing, with all of these great dairy alternatives now. There have been a few dairy alternative soy products in Stockholm for a while, but soy is a bit controversial healthwise (especially when it comes to your hormones,) so I've been trying to avoid it. Now, that coconut yogurt has FINALLY hit Sweden the past couple of years, I can totally jump on the trend full-time and recommend it wholeheartedly!

I have hunted down all the kinds of coconut yogurt in Stockholm that I can find. The availability seems to have grown a lot over this past year. So far, my favorites are The Coconut Collaborative at ICA Liljeholmen (pictured above,) Abbot and Kinney's from The Good Store and Garant Eko Kokosghurt Naturell from Mat.se. I always recommend to go for the unflavored natural kinds, to avoid any extra added sugar—you can always put in honey or fruit to flavor it to your preference later.

Because of this new addiction, I have even attempted to make coconut yogurt on my own, in the oven. That didn't really turn out as planned. Somehow, it got contaminated and turned pink. šŸ˜ I'll spare you all the grossness and not put up a photo of that mess. Apparently, making coconut yogurt is actually a little hard. Everything has to be super sterilized, so no unwanted bacteria can creep in and ruin it.

Since then, I have purchased a yogurt maker from Kitchentime.se (for only 249:-,) thinking it would be easier. It has just been sitting around for a while, waiting for me to use it. Out of fear of growing pink bacteria again, I haven't quite found the time yet. Haha! šŸ¤£ But, I'm about to pick a day sometime next week to attempt this process again. I will, for sure, update you on my progress. Cross your fingers for me (if you are Swedish: hold your thumbs!)


This alien looking thing is the yogurt maker I purchased šŸ˜‚

Does anyone have any tips on buying other good dairy-free yogurts in Stockholm?

How about making coconut yogurt at home? I could use all the tips I can get. Comment below!!!!