Archives for category: Sweden

What is going on? TWO posts from Nurse Angry in one day?

Well, Nurse Angry admires Dr. Jason Fung, and was moved to comment on his most recent blog post, so here it is. She was reminded of something Nina Teicholz wrote in “The Big Fat Surprise”:

“Despite his other successes, being on the unpopular side of the cholesterol debate made a bitter man of George Mann. As he approached retirement in the late 1970s, a tone of torment crept into his papers. An article he wrote in 1977 began: ‘A generation of research on the diet-heart question has ended in disarray,’ and he called the diet-heart hypothesis a ‘misguided and fruitless preoccupation.”

I guess the big fat surprise for all of us here is that nobody seems to be listening, and it’s really unclear why. When I started reading up on nutrition a few years ago I felt like an idiot. How could I not have known the things I was finding out? I’m a nurse! And I’m interested in nutrition! How embarrassing. But since then I’ve realized the enormity of the task in front of us. I’m trying not to be bitter, but it’s hard. Especially the cancer thing makes me furious. Such a waste.

Yesterday I had the good fortune to attend a very small seminar with some heavyweight speakers where the topic was “A healthier Sweden”. The first map posted here was shown and the speakers talked about the focus on DM 2-why?, an app to help people become physically active, youth in chosen areas being empowered by sport, community and taking responsibility, how much liberty a school can take in promoting health, public health seen through the eyes of national insurance and the whole insurance system, and more. It was all very interesting, but not once was diet discussed. The only times it showed up at all were in 2 single lines on sugar on the pages of 2 different powerpoint presentations which were SKIPPED OVER because of time constraints.

We can’t give up!


Nurse Angry is reblogging Kristina’s Krazy Adventure because Kristina is angry. Nurse Angry is equally angry.

NA started reading up on nutrition because she wanted to know why (if it really is so) people of Asian descent seem to more easily get type 2 diabetes, because her daughter was born of Indian parents. Nurse Angry is not overweight but suspects that the “healthy” low-fat vegetarian diet she was eating caused fertility issues. At this point she’s gone through a bunch of books starting with Ann Fernholm’s “My Sweet Heart” (original Swedish title is Ett sötare blood- A sweeter blood, but available in English as an e-book), and another one of hers about children and sugar, John Yudkin’s classic “Pure, White and Deadly” Robert Lustig’s “Fat Chance”, and she just recently finished Gary Taubes’ “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. Obesity, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, fertility problems, acne… the carbohydrate content of our diets seems like it’s killing us and worst is sugar and refined carbs. At this point Nurse Angry feels like we are all living in a parallel universe where government information on nutrition and a healthy diet is worthless at best and cannot be said to be based on science but more on big money, mistakes and prestige. She is convinced that what she learned about nutrition and a healthy diet in nursing school was wrong and is trying to figure out how she can help put things right again when she next switches jobs. Let her know if you have any bright ideas.

Kristina's Krazy Adventure

I have been thinking about how much I’ve learned since I started blogging and it actual amazes me the knowledge I’ve gained since January. I considered myself quite knowledgeable in the area of food and nutrition just as a person who likes to be well informed and enjoys learning. However, I have never learned so much about food and nutrition so much as I have just in the past nine months alone. I considered myself one of those people who knew what I should be doing but just wasn’t doing it. I was too lazy or my willpower just wasn’t good enough to compete with “healthy” eating. I have felt that way since the beginning of high school when I saw a doctor as they were concerned that my thyroid may be under active and that my numbers were a little bit under what was considered normal. I vividly remember…

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In Sweden there are often these little blue plastic  booties at the doctor’s office. They’re intended to keep the floor clean and many Swedes will put them on even if the weather is fine, if you just put them out in the waiting room. Shoe candy, so to speak. 

Swedish design at its best?

They may promote cleanliness, but  if you forget to take them off and go outdoors in the winter, they’re potentially deadly. Once when Nurse Angry’s mother was visiting, we saw two people walking around at a mall who had forgotten to remove their protective footwear. In that environment they weren’t dangerous, just funny. It’s also super cute to see a waiting room full of people all wearing the same booties. They’re a kind of cheap and cheery equalizer. 

But here’s the thing. Very often you put them on and you still sit in the waiting room in your personal godawful mess of a filthy puddle, which you then track into the examining room, then on to the lab, back into the examining room… etc. 

Nurse Angry has often wondered why. Could it be that they try to recycle already used ones? Little plastic bags should just do their job and keep the water and dirt on the inside, right?

Wrong.  Because this is what Nurse Angry found when she unpacked some brand spanking new ones.  Mystery solved. And she avoided writing about the election. 

Not one but TWO holes in this beauty

Continuing on the Invincible Viking theme: “dumb” they are not, in any way. Swedes are highly intelligent communicators, and they’re willing to risk their lives to exercise their right to use their mobile devices.

Nurse Angry’s keen eye has observed that Stockholmers of all ages, shapes and sizes are pretty much incapable of doing anything without a smartphone in one hand, either fiddling with it or, just as likely, yakking away. Here are the 10 most popular activities no longer possible for an urban Swede to perform without a phone:

10. Walking a dog or just walking on the street (with or without human company)

9. Driving a car

8. Riding a bike

7. Pushing a baby carriage

6. Eating in a restaurant

5. If you’re 8 or older, going to school without an iPhone 6 is a major faux pas in the Swedish capital

4. Hanging out at the playground with the kid(s)

3. Paying at a store

2. Using the bathroom (there’s a fair chance of finding an abandoned phone in pretty much any bathroom, public or private – it seems that 2 hands may be needed to rip off toilet paper or button up pants. Nurse Angry humbly leaves this to your imagination.)

1. (Nurse Angry’s personal favorite) These brave new superhumans are now fully capable of navigating, steering and braking  bicycles of all types with one hand while holding a phone to their ear with the other. Even with a toddler on board. Or when pregnant. Or over 85 years of age.

No headsets necessary for these badass uberpeople!

FYI: if you are biking behind someone who’s riding slowly and swerving around like they’ve swigged down most of a bottle of aquavit, not to worry: they’re just writing a text.

Nurse Angry has so far not seen anyone using their phone at a workout class. Well, just once she saw a woman manically texting during spinning. But in Nurse Angry’s humble opinion it was a pretty boring class, and technically it counts as riding a bike, even if it’s not moving and you’re being blasted with EDM.

What will the Swedes do for their next trick?

Carey has opened Pandora’s box. Since Nurse Angry  started writing again there seems to be no end to the non-subjects that pop into her head. And she has figured out that this is a good way to use those pesky leftover minutes during telephone hours. The ball is officially rolling again, so you might want get out of the way.

The original idea for this blog was that Nurse Angry was literally sleepless in Stockholm, and that together with general parenting issues. Having a small child, construction work, general city noise and two madly barking dogs upstairs almost did Nurse Angry in. But things have changed. Construction work and general city noise continue, but small child is now medium child and what’s more: the dogs moved out yesterday. Woof!

Nurse Angry started the workday by talking to the vacuum cleaner: “Did you do your job? No, not really. Get back in there.” She picked him up, put him back in the hallway where he belonged and shut the door. This little robot  is one of Nurse Angry’s favorite people. He’s surprisingly strong. He can move over the threshold and open the door into the waiting room if it’s not closed really hard. Nurse Angry has started thinking of him as one of the team. She hardly ever has to get the regular, boring vacuum out.

If you happen to be interested in industrial robotics, check out SVIA. There’s a cool, short film, Meet the Creatures which has human acrobats portraying robots.

Hooray for robots! They’re going to kick our butts in everything!

And speaking of creatures….”Clinton lured Trump out onto thin ice” was the headline in the Swedish newspaper that met Nurse Angry this morning. She is rubbing her hands together in glee. She CANNOT WAIT to get home tonight and watch the first presidential debate. This could be like watching the two toughest kids who were mean to you at school beat each other up.

For her next act, Nurse Angry will learn how to write a short, meaningful blog post.

Nurse Angry has recently started working with an ear-nose-throat specialist. Tragically, this does not give her immunity to afflictions in said area. Ahhh, laryngitis! Nurse Angry wishes she could take a magic pill, but a virus is a virus so she’ll have to make do with fluids, voice rest and cough sedatives. virus1Awww, isn’t he cute!

Nurse Angry does not know how it is in the rest of the world, but in Sweden we convinced ourselves that the horrific, no-sun summer of 2012 was the cause of the epidemic of viruses that plagued us fall-winter-spring. But summer this year was wonderful and now everyone is sick again. Small person in the household has already been sick 4 or 5 times since going back to preschool and the teenagers have fared only slightly better. Not to mention the myriad illnesses of Nurse Angry herself. Only the Old Guy stays pretty much healthy, wealthy and wise.

Flu attack! How a virus invades your body:

 Here in Stockholm (affectionately known as The Capital of Scandinavia, see earlier blog) nobody seems to know how to wash their hands or to cough/sneeze into the crook of their arm. And personally Nurse Angry thinks it is a bad idea to go to work sick or send kids to preschool sick. We’ve all done it but maybe we should rethink that equation.

The Big Picture Book of Viruses!!

Once upon a time Nurse Angry saw a TV program about viruses. It was scary.  This was back in the early 80’s. And at the end they asked one of the researchers “Who will win the war between man and the viruses?” He answered without hesitation, and Nurse Angry’s readers are smart enough to know what the answer was that has haunted her ever since. But there is an upside: we probably don’t need to be so worried about global warming because the viruses are definitely going to get us first. So party on. And pass the Cocillana. Tastes so strange that Nurse Angry just has to wonder what even stranger taste is being masked.


Aside from the fact that it is a bad photo. Waaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Actually, there are probably quite a few things wrong with this picture, but seriously, what’s with that SIGN? The one that looks like it’s hanging by a thread.  On the filthy wall. On the building housing Fastighetskontoret- the offices in charge of real estate owned by the city. Nurse Angry is not kidding.

Take a closer look.IMG_0247

Note the nice little bit of raw concrete above the top of the sign- sign must’ve slid down a little, right? No. That is the way it’s supposed to be. Tilted.

Yes, that sign with the sickening slogan “Stockholm. The Capital of Scandinavia.” How uptight, smug and self-absorbed can a slogan be? Nurse Angry gets, well, ANGRY every time she bikes past it.
What was wrong with “Beauty on water”? It was at least true. Nurse Angry even prefers “The Venice of the North” and that’s a pretty appalling statement.

Luckily the perfect antidote is right around the corner. Nurse Angry recommends going immediately a  few hundred meters to your left to have a look at Stockholm City Hall instead. Ahhh, lovely. Thank you Ragnar Östberg!


Nurse Angry found herself speechless with surprise and moved nearly to tears one early morning when she spotted this deft and cheeky work of bathroom art in her own home. The thoughtful creator had probably used more energy tearing the toilet paper with such care as to leave 3/4 of a piece than he/she would have used by getting out a new roll.

So Nurse Angry asks you: who says teenagers are lazy?20130517-153521.jpg

Nurse Angry has noted a new trend in toilet habits among the young. She calls it the iFlush. It should actually be called the iDontflush but that is a cumbersome epithet. The iFlush is what happens when folks go into the bathroom and sit a spell with their computer or other device of choice. Nurse Angry doesn’t have an opinion about what people do in there or how long they do it, but she does not appreciate the iFlush. And between you and Nurse Angry she actually calls it something unprintable.


In the words of one of Nurse Angry’s closest friends, the inimitable Scratchy Jackson:

“Looks like meat. Could be cake. It’s meatcake!”

In this case, beetcake. Nurse Angry got a wild and crazy idea this Valentine’s Day; to surprise her family with a suitably colored homemade cake, baked with looooove (by the way, in Swedish it’s “lööööööööve'”. Or “kärlek”, you choose). She has been looking for an excuse to use a recipe which includes grated beets, and today was that day. Swedish recipe, but as it includes salt Nurse Angry assumes it was pilfered from some American cookbook as Swedish baked-goods seldom include salt. Sadly, said cake turned out more purple-brown than red, but even for Nurse Angry it’s the thought that counts.

Nurse Angry would now like to lead you through a tedious, step-by-step recipe with photos of every imaginable ingredient and utensil: Nurse Angry taking the butter out of the fridge, Nurse Angry inspecting the nutmeg grater for cleanliness, Nurse Angry chopping walnuts with Da Biggest, Meanest Knife In Da Kitchen, Nurse Angry using up all the available canola oil north of Copenhagen, and so forth. Fortunately, she does not have time to do this.

Nurse Angry tied her anti-beet apron on securely, turned on the radio, and started baking to Duke Ellington and scat-song of George Benson, among others.

The greasing of the baking pan went well until Nurse Angry remembered that she did not have any dry bread crumbs (ströbröd) with which Swedes like to coat the pan. Being a resourceful nurse, she found flour to be a wholesome American substitute.

Grating the beets made Nurse Angry sorely regret that she had gotten rid of her Magimix, bought in the Harrods sale of 1988. She can only hope it found a good home.

If you use the word "ecological" instead of "organic" when visiting your home country you will feel stupid, and rightfully so

The next stumbling block was the inclusion of vanilla sugar (vaniljsocker), a Swedish vanilla-flavored powdered sugar, sometimes made with real vanilla, sometimes not (read the dang label). Nurse Angry is in principle against this ingredient, preferring vanilla extract, but today threw caution to the wind and dumped in a teaspoonful.

Next, Nurse Angry discovered to her horror that the only cardamom in the house was in pod form. Out with the mortar and pestle, time to crack and grind. These were hands down the day’s most tedious minutes.

After that Nurse Angry found that the recipe included only one teaspoon of baking soda for a rather voluminous amount of batter. Drawing on her extensive memories of making carrot cake in the 80’s, she consulted The Joy of Cooking and threw in a teaspoon of baking powder too, hoping against hope that there was no chemical explanation for the lack of baking powder in the Swedish recipe.

Fit for human consumption?

Nurse Angry knows that people like to credit the moistness of certain baked goods to the  inclusion of carrots, zucchini, or other unmentionables. But she suspects that grotesque amounts of canola oil* in the batter may have something to do with it. It’s healthy, trust her, she’s a nurse.

Whip together a cream cheese frosting and… voila.

If you ask for decorating help from a three-year old, this is how ALL your cakes will look for the foreseeable future.

Anyone know where in Stockholm Nurse Angry can find tiny marzipan beets to put on her next beetcake? What? Make them herself?

* The name “canola” was derived from “Canadian oil, low acid” in 1978. Wiki me!

Hi ho, hi ho, into the pot I go

Sometimes Nurse Angry peels a sweet potato and realizes she just has to share it with the world.

Not many people know this, but Sweden is such a calm and happy country that even the sweet potatoes smile as you lower them into a pot of hot water. This sweet potato, whose name happens to be Nils-Bernard, has been attending Mindfulness classes for some time now at the expense of the state, and is able to concentrate on just feeling warm all over.

So aside from  the 500-year parental leave, the excellent cuisine (if you like meatballs), the socialized health care, the high standard of choral singing and the fact that even the bums and drunks here have cell phones, a visitor can also look forward to making contact with some of the world’s most harmonious vegetables.

Nurse Angry welcomes you to Sweden.