Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wellness Wednesday / "Delia's Dose"

Happy 1st day of Spring!  You may feel the earth tilting 23.4 degrees today (my Mother SWEARS she can feel it-if you know my Mom, you know that is probably true!) which means we get more hours of sunlight each day!

Now, for a fair skinned gal like myself, this means more sun block, scoping out the shade tree and big sun hats!  As much as I try to protect myself from the sun, I know that I also NEED the sun. The sun provides a very important Vitamin to our bodies, Vitamin D. People call it the “Sunshine Vitamin” because our bodies produce it in response to sunlight. When the sun’s UVB rays hit the skin, a reaction takes place that helps the skin cells to make Vitamin D.  If you don’t get enough Vitamin D it can lead to many problems!

*rickets(soft bones, skeletal deformities)
*severe asthma in children
*cardiovascular disease
*respiratory infections
*muscle weakness
*chronic kidney disease

Have your doctor do a blood test to see if your Vitamin D levels are healthy and be sure to get your daily dose of sunshine! Docs recommend approx 5-30 minutes of sun exposure between 10am-3pm at least twice a week for optimal Vitamin D levels. Now, the amount of time you need to spend in direct sunlight various based on how light or dark skinned you are. African Americans may require 6 times the amount of sun exposure to make the same amount of Vitamin D than a very fair-skinned person. The more melanin you have in your skin, the longer it takes for your body to absorb the UVB rays. Vitamin D deficiency is more common than ya think. People living in northern latitudes  don’t get enough sun, mainly because it’s colder for a longer portion of the year and people stay indoors.  Surprisingly people living in sunny climates may also be at risk because they cover up and use sunscreen more consistently.  Older people are also at risk because they are less likely to spend time in the sun and the fact that as we age, our skin has fewer receptors that help convert the sunlight to Vitamin D.  

Now, I bet you are confused because most of the time we are told NOT to spend too much time in the sun because of the risk for skin cancer. Like everything…in moderation…but you can get your Vitamin D from supplements(ask your doctor) and from foods. There are a few foods that contain Vitamin D.  Fatty fish(salmon, tuna, mackerel) are the best sources. Beef liver(yuck!), cheese, egg yolks, and mushrooms exposed to ultraviolet light(yes, they are doing that now!). Milk and most breakfast cereals are fortified with  Vitamin D.

Here are 2 of my favorite recipes for getting a dose of Vitamin D!

BAKED SALMON PATTIES(or as my daughter calls them PINK CIRCLES)
Makes approx 14 patties, depending on what size you want them to be!
*4 cans of salmon, drained
*1 egg, beaten
*2 cups cheddar cheese(I’ve used mozzarella too!)
*1/4 cup chopped green onion(or whatever onion you’ve got in the fridge)
*2 cups finely diced celery
*3 tbsp parsley
*juice from one lemon
*salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, break up the salmon with a fork, stir in egg, cheese, onion, celery, parsley, and lemon juice
Use your hands and form the mixture into about ½ inch thick and 2.5 inches wide patties
Coat a baking sheet with olive oil or parchment paper, put your pink circles on there
Bake at 350 for about 15 min, then flip for another 15 min (I like them a bit browned)
ENJOY with a side of brown rice and steamed broccoli! Mmmm

TUNA SALAD(with hidden veggies!)
Serves 4
*2 cans tuna packed in water
*1/2 cup of cauliflower puree(steam or boil some cauliflower and throw it in the food processor!)
*1/4 cup mayonnaise
*2 stalks celery, finely chopped
*1/4 tsp chili powder
*1/4 tsp sweet paprika
*1/4 tsp garlic powder
*salt and pepper to taste

Drain the tuna, put in a large bowl and break it up with a fork
Fold in the cauliflower puree and mayo
Add all other ingredients
Stuff into a whole wheat pita or go gluten free with a lettuce wrap!

Both of these are great to make a batch of and have on hand for lunch on the go or a quick dinner!
Have a Healthy Week!

DISCLAIMER: Delia is not a Doctor, Nutritionist, or Registered Dietitian. She is simply a person dedicated to eating healthy foods and living a healthy lifestyle. She loves to help and inspire others to do the same!

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