Keto Diet Embraced by Icelanders

Sviðasulta, a form of jellied sheep's head

The ketogenic diet has been embraced by Icelanders in recent months. The diet aims to reduce carbohydrate consumption in order to get the body to burn fat and proteins rather than carbs. More and more restaurants have started to offer keto-options, and sales of keto related goods are up across the board, RÚV reports.

Import of cauliflower, which is popular among keto followers, has increased by 40% since the turn of the year, according to wholesale firm Bananar ehf. Sales of Ketostix, a strip which measures the amount of ketone in urine, increased by 300% in 2018. Sviðasulta, a form of jellied sheep’s head, sales have increased by 30%, according to the meat producer SS.

The Facebook group Keto Iceland has close to 10,000 members. “There were only a couple of us doing this at first, along with a few Snapchatters, as well as existing groups such as Atkins, but this completely blown up in terms of popularity,” said Viðar Freyr Guðmundsson, one of the group’s founders.

Guðrún Hjördís Baldursdóttir, owner of Skjaldbakan pizzeria in Grandi Mathöll, has witnessed a tremendous increased in pizzas with keto dough. “The reception has been so good that we can hardly keep up with the demand. We’ve just come from a keto shift producing more dough, as we want people to be able to order what they want. We’re basically setting new sales records each passing day,” Guðrún commented.

The IKEA cafeteria in Garðabær also offers keto options. Þórarinn Ævarsson, the former CEO of Ikea in Iceland, expects more and more restaurants to start offering keto options. “I believe the trend will be like with the vegan options, as I think that no restaurant today can live with bypassing vegan options. The same is true for the keto options, and I think that all who wish to attain real success have to offer this,” he commented.

Followers of the ketogenic diet try to limit carbohydrate consumption, instead focusing on foods with a higher fat amount. Oftentimes, the goal is to lose weight as well as attaining a healthier lifestyle. People typically increase meat consumption along with vegetable consumption.

Whaling Company Violation to Be Investigated

 

Iceland’s only whaling company Hvalur hf. will be investigated for an alleged violation of whaling regulations, RÚV reports. The state prosecutor has overturned the decision of West Iceland’s Chief of Police to close an investigation into one of the company’s three possible violations of regulations on whale hunting.

Nature conservation group Jarðarvinir sued Hvalur hf. last August for violating whaling regulations. The charge was made on three separate accounts: the killing of a hybrid whale, the harpoons the company uses for hunting, and the butchering and processing of whale carcasses. The state prosecutor orered West Iceland Police to investigate the charges, and they announced the investigation had been discontinued last December. Jarðarvinir then appealed this decision.

The state prosecutor confirmed the police’s decision on the first two charges, but reopened the investigation into the butchering and processing of whale meat. According to whaling regulations, whale carcasses are required to be butchered on a covered surface, a rule that Hvalur hf. did not follow. The state prosecutor has also ordered West Iceland Police to investigate Hvalur hf.’s failure to submit activity logs to the Directorate of Fisheries, which was also among Jarðvinir’s demands.

Landeyjahöfn Harbour Opens Following Maintenance Delays

Herjólfur ferry Landeyjahöfn harbour

Herjólfur ferry sailed its first trip of the year between Landeyjarhöfn and the Westman Islands this morning, RÚV reports. It’s a much shorter journey than the one to Þorlákshöfn harbour, where the ferry sails during the winter months. Landeyjarhöfn fills with sand during the winter, which must be pumped out to make it usable again each summer season. Local authorities say that although the opening is a cause for celebration, it’s much later than hoped for.

Costly maintenance

Some 4,300 residents live in the Westman Islands in South Iceland and rely on Herjólfur ferry to access the mainland. Last year Landeyjahöfn opened for the summer season on March 5, nearly two months earlier than this year. Since the harbour opened in 2010, it has required regular maintenance to maintain enough depth for the ferry’s use. The cost of this maintenance, at more than ISK 3.3 billion ($27 million/€24 million), has already exceeded the cost of the harbour itself.

Unnecessary delays

Westman Islands mayor Íris Róbertsdóttir says the opening of the harbour doesn’t change the fact that the Road and Coastal Administration needs to find more effective ways of maintaining the harbour, an initiative for which Minister of Transport Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson has also expressed support. Westman Island authorities have complained that the company contracted by the Road and Coastal Administration to see to the harbour maintenance does not have the adequate equipment to carry out the work, and therefore unnecessarily limits the harbour’s usage. While pumping maintenance depends largely on weather conditions, Björgun was criticised for not taking advantage of several good-weather days over Easter weekend to deepen the harbour, thereby further delaying its opening for the season.

Deepening continues

Though the harbour has reached the minimum depth for usage, maintenance will continue over the next days to deepen it further. Passengers who have trips booked with Herjólfur are advised that its itinerary could change, and to check for updates on Herjólfur’s website.