As I start to write this post, I realise that last night I snap chatted me eating an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s, so it really doesn’t help the credibility of this blog post about my eating, but everyone can have cheat day(s) and it was the Greek yogurt kind, so it was the good fats (all 46g of them).
First, I will talk about the Finnish food/food culture in general. The food here is really not that different than food in the US, however; from what my teammates tell me, food in Europe is much healthier than the states because of the stricter food regulations. Pretty much everything here is all natural, for example, they don’t have a big selection of the fake butter, anything “fat free” or “diet” because they don’t use a lot of chemicals in their foods. The typical Finnish meal, from what I am told, is: bread, salad, POTATOES, and beef (sometimes reindeer), and the people put jelly on the beef. Salmon is also really popular and cheap, as there are a lot of lakes, it is more popular than chicken. There is always a salad bar! It is awesome. Wherever you eat, once you order your meal, you can hit the all-you-can-eat salad buffet. My teammates know I love buffets more than most other things (especially breakfast ones), so every time we eat at a buffet they all ask me how excited I am. Things that all Fins eat a lot of: bread. There are always baskets and baskets of bread before every salad bar. Coffee: I love this part of the culture and will bring it back with me. After every meal, there is coffee time. This is the part of the meal where you get your coffee, sip it slow, and get to catch up with whoever you are with. Pineapples are eaten with salad, chicken, pizza, everything. Cottage cheese is this new thing I am really into, except from what I remember in the states, people usually eat it with fruit, kind of like a dessert. Here, it is what you put on your salad. Dessert Pudding: this is harder to explain what this actually is. After the meal, restaurants usually have a mixed berry cream pudding, but I think someone told me it is made from cottage cheese. It tastes like a sweet berry cloud if you could imagine what a cloud tastes like.
A huge part of Finnish culture is the candy culture. I have never seen so many candy stores in my life, and I am a sweets fanatic on a mission to seek out any and every sweet shop available to me. If I have to choose a last meal on this earth it will be an entire carrot cake with cream cheese icing, Zingerman’s size. So, I love sweets and so do the Fins. There are candy dispensers (the ones where you use the scooper and weigh your candy) in grocery stores, in gas stations, pretty much everywhere, and the worst part is they strategically place them right before the checkout. (I am becoming addicted to chewing gum in the grocery store, so I resist the temptation of the sexy chocolate covered toffees staring right into my soul). Another sweet that I love from Finland is pullah. Pullah is this pastry that is kind of like pull-apart bread with jelly inside.
So, this is how Fins eat, but I became aware my first couple weeks here that this is not how volleyball players eat. We had a meeting with our coaches in the first few weeks about food and how our body and what we eat is part of our job. They also said we eat way too much bread (LOL). I never thought about this before because at Michigan if I wanted cheesy bread, I ordered it. If I wanted Franzia (you know you’re broke when you want Franzia), I drank it. I never really understood this concept, until now. If I eat shitty before practice, I feel really shitty in practice. If I don’t eat enough before practice, I feel like a zombie with no brain and the slowest reaction times ever. It’s funny to me, because some of you may be working all day on whatever you work on in an office, but because we get our body fat measured pretty often, eating is my work. Kinda cool, kinda weird. (And yes, on saturdays I eat 5 donuts if I want to.)
I am realising this wasn’t my funniest post, I apologise, but here are some highlights of my past weeks. I gambled for the first time and won 3 Euros. I got really nervous after I won twice (betting a whopping .20 cents) and decided to stop. I played badminton with these 3 guys and it was a really hard workout. Badminton is no joke and there is a lot of trash talk! I won one game and the other games I lost 21-6, they really had no mercy on the noob. I am have really been thankful for my family lately, who, even when I am not feeling my best, remind me of my strengths. A new bar opened in the city and it is much more age appropriate for my teammates and I. I am also looking forward to when we actually make it to the karaoke bar, because I made a promise that I would sing the Finnish National Anthem for my song. We play in Austria in 2 weeks and I am really excited to travel and see a new country!
Time to catch up on The Mindy Project! Moi!