Maybe you’ve heard of the Paleo and Mediterranean diets, both of which eschew modern processed foods in a quest to return to our wholesome ancient roots. The Viking diet, or New Nordic diet, is based on the traditional eating patterns of the Scandinavians and is rich in fatty fish, berries, nuts, and game meat.

People swear by the new (old) eating style, explaining that it boosts longevity, energy, general health, and weight loss. The foods you’ll eat on the New Nordic diet will differ depending on your region, because it focuses on what’s regional, sustainable, and seasonal – just like the food in traditional Scandinavian kitchens.

The rules are pretty simple: more plants and less meat, more seafood, and as much as you like of local and in season root veggies, leafy greens, orchard fruits, nuts, berries, and legumes. Foraged and wild are better than farmed. Foods that are smoked, pickled, cured and salted using traditional Norwegian techniques are encouraged. Also allowed are whole grains like rye, spelt, barley and oats. Rather than a menu, however, the diet should be viewed as a change in the way you think about eating.

It works because whole grains (not processed grains) make you feel full longer, and the preferred rapeseed oil (a.k.a. canola oil) is good for cadiovascular health with less saturated fat than its olive oil cousin. Typically, any diet where you remove something (like grains or dairy) may work very well in the short term, but are difficult to maintain in the long haul. The New Nordic may be better for those who have trouble with an exclusionary diet, since it doesn’t exclude anything, but encourages eaters to make better, more wholesome choices.

What about drinking?

Yes, the New Nordic allows for drinking, but in moderation. Skål on!

Try this New Nordic inspired side dish with your Thanksgiving meal: Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries with Barley from Cookie and Kate.

As with any diet, listening to your body to know when you’re hungry or full and controlling portions will be the key to weight loss.

Think this might be your new diet? See a problem with eating this way? Let us know in the comments!