A couple of years ago I spent a few days (eating) in Copenhagen. What a delight! Before we went, I looked into the Nordic diet and loved their guidelines.  And it was so refreshing to see they were spearheaded by a restaurant chef.

That chef was Rene Redzepi from the world renown Copenhagen restaurant  NOMA.   In many places, restaurants focus more on taste rather than health, for example, cooking items in masses of butter for flavor. But here was an amazing chef who brought other chefs in Denmark together to create a healthy diet for Denmark, that they would showcase in their restaurants, but would also be easy enough for home cooking. 

They created the New Nordic diet (NND) which is a gastronomically driven, regional, organic and environmentally friendly diet from Denmark.  The NND is based on regional foods in season, with a strong emphasis on palatability, healthiness, and sustainability, while staying in tune with regional food culture and dietary habits.

The basis of their eating plan is comprised of the following food groups to eat regularly/daily:
  • fruit and vegetables – especially berries, cabbages, root vegetables and legumes
  • potatoes
  • fresh herbs
  • plants and mushrooms gathered/foraged from the wild
  • nuts
  • whole grains
  • fish and shellfish
  • seaweed

along with 

  • moderate consumption of game meats, free-range eggs, cheese, and yogurt.
  • rarely eating other red meats and animal fats
  • avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars,  processed meats, food additives and refined fast foods.
The two food groups that stand out to me that they suggest you eat every day are fresh herbs and foraged plants. I don’t believe any other government dietary requirements mention herbs at all.
Image showing baked fish in ramekin with rainbow coleslaw from blog at CALMERme.com
Herbs have lots of different effects on the body – with each having their own little “niche” of health benefits, for example oregano has antibacterial and anti fungal effects, thyme and rosemary are both good antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, mint helps with digestion, and basil helps with pain, reduces cholesterol, etc.  So using a variety of fresh herbs as part of your daily diet brings lots of benefits – never mind the flavors they impart.  I use fresh herbs, including their flowers, every day from my garden. What about you?
If you want to learn more about the NND, there is a free online course on it from the University of Copenhagen, via Coursera “The NND from gastronomy to health” starting June 20th.  
Today’s recipe is in the Nordic style. It is a baked fish with whole grain oats, fresh herbs, cabbages etc. Sadly I didn’t forage for anything – apart from in my own herb garden!  I wish I felt more comfortable foraging for food.  Are you a forager?  Maybe I should find or start a local foraging group……

Yields Approximately 20 muffins

Starbright berry muffins| Foodie Friday

A tasty treat with a protective punch of anti-cancer ingredients.

15 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

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Recipe Image


  • 6 medjool dates, pitted, quartered
  • 2 medium, over-ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats or wholegrain, unsweetened puffed rice
  • 3 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup berries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc)
  • Coconut oil for greasing the muffin pan


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.
  2. If using, put paper muffin cups into a muffin pan, otherwise lightly grease each cup in the muffin pan.
  3. In a food processor, whiz the dates, bananas, and vanilla essence until very smooth. It's OK if there are a few tiny bits of date that don't get completely incorporated.
  4. In a bowl, mix together the oat flour, almond meal, oats or puffed rice, flaxseed, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.
  5. Add the banana mixture to the bowl. Take care not to over mix.
  6. Fold in the berries and nuts.
  7. Spoon into muffin cups.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes at 350F.
  9. Cool for ten minutes in the baking dish, then transfer to cooling rack until fully cooled.


All berries, fresh, frozen, or thawed are good in this recipe. If you use frozen berries, you might need to add a few minutes of baking time. If you use big berries (such as boysenberries or blackberries), you might want to cut them in half or even quarters before adding them. You can make your own oat flour by pulsing rolled oats in your food processor for just a few seconds until the oats are finely ground. (One cup of oats will make approximately one cup of oat flour.)



This recipe can also be used to make fish cakes. Just form the fish mixture into patties and cook in a frying pan with a little ghee or coconut oil, turning once.

This meal gives a nice range of textures from the soft light fish to the crunchy coleslaw.

Count how many colors in this meal – our goal is to eat a rainbow a day.

The baked fish can be frozen. As it takes so little time to cook, freeze before baking, then defrost in the fridge and cook as normal.

What’s good about this recipe

The many colors in this recipe signify that this food is full of lots of healthy phytonutrients.

Parsley is considered a chemoprotective food due to its volatile oils, especially myristicin, and is also a good anti-oxidant due to its flavonoids. Additionally it is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and folate.

Cabbage is a member of the brassica/cruciferous family, and offers antioxidant richness, anti-inflammatory richness, and richness in glucosinolates – all of which can be chemoprotective.

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