Ode to Vitamin D

There’s been a lot of back and forth controversy about Vitamin D lately, so I thought I’d include some interesting info and articles for this post.

See below for more extensive reading on the subject, but here’s a quick overview.

*Vitamin D is one of the most essential nutrients for our bodies and also one of the most difficult to get sufficient amounts of from our diets. Benefits include prevention of certain cancers, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and the common cold/flu to name a few.

*Foods that contain vitamin D include milk, egg yolks, sardines, salmon, cod liver oil, and mackeral.

*There are two types of Vitamin D – D2 and D3. D2 is synthetic so try to avoid it. D3 is the one to look for.

*The best way for our bodies to absorb Vitamin D is through natural sunlight.  Therefore, it’s unlikely you’re getting the recommended amount unless you live in a tropical or sub-tropical area,  so it’s a good idea to take a supplement in the fall and winter months.

*The best way to test for Vitamin D deficiency and to determine the correct supplement dosage is through a blood test. An optimal level is at least 50 ng/ml or higher. There are two markers for Vitamin D so make sure to ask for the 25 hydroxy D marker as it is the most accurate.

*Over absorption of Vitamin D has it’s problems too, so re-test your blood levels after a month of beginning supplements to make sure you’re not over doing it.

Check out this article by Dr. Ben Kim for more info.  Because I’ve had digestive problems and wasn’t properly absorbing nutrients (a common side effect of digestive issues), I take a liquid supplement.  I took a break the last few days though because I was lucky enough to get some sunshine! Here are some more shots from the weekend in Turks & Caicos.

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2011

Happy 2011! Hope everyone is recovering from all the festivities. Here are a few photos from the snowstorm in NYC and New Years on MV (oo I rhymed…sorta).

I was thinking about new year’s resolutions and I think I’m going with Marie Forleo\’s approach this year to not have any.  This isn’t to say I’m not setting any goals, but there’s something about framing it as new year’s resolutions that creates added stress and I think this makes it easier to fail or not follow through (for testimony of this, poke your head into any gym around January 2nd to look around and then again around January 20th. Sad but true). So this year I’m trying to think more like this and focus on setting intentions instead of resolutions and making them all year long instead of just once. It’s not really so different from what I’ve been doing because after all, I’ve always been a crazy list-maker.  Here are a few of my intentions right now.

1. Chewing more. Sounds easy, but it actually takes practice. I wouldn’t say I’m a fast eater, but I could definitely eat slower. Check out this article for some of the many benefits of mastication (how many of you just read that sentence twice? 😉 )

2. Meditating. This one is always on the list. I’ve gotten pretty good about practicing during higher-stress periods, but then it seems to slide when things calm down again…and then stress creeps back up. Go figure.

3. Green juicing. Hoping the birthday fairy brings me a Vitamix this year so I can try out some of these recipes. It’s a great way to start out your day to give you lots of energy and get you glowing from the inside out. More deets here.

4. Not sweating the small stuff. Okay I know that’s a big and pretty general one. But I’ve learned it takes on even more importance when you are doing something like planning a wedding. There are loads of decisions to make and lots of personalities thrown into the mix, so it’s a good reminder to focus on the big picture and not get lost in the details.

Speaking of wedding, loving these luminarias 🙂

Via Martha Stewart’s Wedding Idea of the Day

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Happy Holidays!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but as much as I love the holidays – they wear me out! Not sure if I’m just getting old, but I can’t seem to do the seven nights of holiday parties in a row the way I used to. Two nights ago I couldn’t sleep – I think the waitress accidentally gave me regular coffee instead of decaf., or perhaps it was the winter solstice lunar eclipse – so last night I crashed at home.  I watched “Tiny Furniture” written by and starring Lena Dunham – if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend!  It’s hilarious and poignant at the same time.  I couldn’t believe this girl is only 24!  I hear she has an HBO show in the works… I have a feeling the world will be seeing a lot more of her. Check out the trailer here:

Here’s a good article about energy that I think is especially relevant for this time of year.

Another important thing I’ve learned over the years is to recognize my limits. I love being around people, but I’ve found that I need to take breaks in between socializing. I find that even though I can manage going from one event to the next, I’m much better and fresher when I can take even an hour of down time to re-group and re-charge my battery. Check out this personality quiz to help you determine what works best for you.

Newest obsession this week –Fine and Raw Chocolate. Not only is it raw and super healthy – unprocessed cacao has 10x the amount of antioxidants as blueberries! – it tastes amazing! I tried the crystals and sea salt bar, and it had just the right amount of salt + sweet combination. I’m officially hooked.

Loving this site that lets you personalize your own Santa video.

Happy Holidays!

xoxo

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Stocking Stuffers

This week’s Love List is dedicated to small gifts – great for Secret Santa, Yankee Swaps, stocking stuffers etc etc. – this one’s mostly for the ladies but I’ll include some fun gifts for guys in the next round

Polaroid Pogo Instant Mobile Printer – instant gratification!

Love this Beatles-inspired Let It Be Print…helps remind us to slow down and breathe 🙂 (via Etsy)

Fishs Eddy always has really fun and playful designs, like on this Brooklynese mug

For the gluten-free giftee, these brownies Freed Goods are the best I’ve tried. Hands down. It’s a close call but I think the blondies are my favorite.

J Crew glitter wallet – I’ve been a sucker for anything with sparkles ever since my 5 year old self first laid eyes on Dorothy’s ruby red shoes in the Wizard of Oz.

Viv and Ingrid posts and pouch – two in one gift!

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Reading List

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: If we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” – Anne Bradstreet

It’s officially winter in NYC and actually felt more like January this week than pre-Christmas weather – FREEZING! While I love the holidays, I’m pretty wimpy when it comes to the cold.  Just ordered some of these e-tip gloves so my hands don’t freeze every time I need to use my phone – genius!

One thing I love to do when it’s cold outside is to burrow up inside and read. Besides the pile of books on my nightstand (I’m never reading just one!), here are some interesting health articles I’ve been reading this week:

Soy is a hot topic these days and there’s a lot of confusion about it. This article by Craig Cooper helps break it down.

I hereby name turmeric spice of the week! Check out all the amazing health benefits here and some ideas for incorporating more of it into your diet.

Seven superfoods for women

With the flurry of holiday events it’s easy to get worn down – Some helpful tips for increasing energy.

More and more studies are revealing that the benefits of exercise extend far beyond its physical impact on our bodies.  Here’s one article on the connection between exercise and mental acuity. For more in depth reading, check out the book Spark by John Ratey.

 

 

 

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Daily Dish

I’m starting a new section today called “Daily Dish.” Ok, so it likely won’t be daily, but I liked the alliteration…”Weekly Dish” just doesn’t have the same ring to it!  I was inspired by my favorite blog, Fiber Farm (aka Juniper Moon Farm) and her “probably something you would like” posts. Enjoy!

Anything Banksy intrigues me.

Edible Star Glitter (via Fiber Farm)

How to De-Seed a Pomegranate

The fabulous Gus & Ruby introduced me to Claudia Pearson’s Buy Local Calendar with each month’s seasonal produce and…

also to Linda & Harriet calendars – genius because they double as postcards so you can mail them out to friends when the year is over

I think I’ll try making this Butternut Squash soup recipe this week

It feels like one of those weeks where every one I know has a cold. Here’s an interesting article on the immune-boosting effects of grapefruit seed oil (via Kimberly Snyder)

 

 

 

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Giving Thanks

This Thanksgiving was definitely a good test of willpower.  There were lots of temptations all around me that I unfortunately had to pass up.  Like cheese. And apple pie. And stuffing.  And mashed potatoes.  I guess the silver lining is that my food hangover was considerably lighter this year.

It was also a challenge for me in another way. I spent hour after hour this weekend cleaning out my closets, which were filled with clothes that dated back to Junior High.  It was a daunting task to say the least!  I’ve read before that our stuff is a metaphor for our lives, and getting rid of all those clothes definitely felt like shedding a layer.  It was an emotional process, because going through our childhood possessions inevitably brings up memories and nostalgia…but it was more emotional in the sense of “how in the hell did I amass so much crap over the years?!” It forced me to take a good look at my habits and what they say or said about me.  It made me think about why I felt the need to have so much “stuff” and had such a hard time letting go of it over the years.  And it also made me feel grateful for some clarity on the issue.  For a long time I think I was oblivious to the impact that all that “excess baggage” (both physical and emotional) had, and it’s a nice realization that even though I’m still a work in progress, I’m not where I was.

I really liked this passage by Louise Hay on clearing out clutter.

A few photos from the weekend:

Waiting for some turkey!

Football and fires make me happy

November light

I started taking private yoga sessions with my dear friend, Claire, and one of my favorite parts of her teaching is how she starts out each class with a quote.  The quote below is from yesterday’s class and I thought it was a perfect thought to wrap up the Thanksgiving weekend.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

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Soaking Experiment

I started phase 1 of my soaking experiment. I’ve read a lot about the numerous health benefits of soaking grains, nuts, seeds, and beans so I decided to give it a go. See here for more detailed info, but in brief, soaking:

*Increases mineral and nutrient absorption in the body

*Makes grains, seeds, beans, and nuts easier to digest

*Decreases cooking time

*Makes them taste better!

I started with quinoa and black-eyes peas this week and soaked them over night in big bowls of warm water (covered), although I’m looking to invest in some mason jars for the next round.  I added a little lemon juice because you want the water to be slightly acidic to reap the full benefits of the soaking process.  I realized after the fact that I sprouted the quinoa instead of just soaking it (will write a separate post on sprouting) because quinoa requires less soaking time than other grains and legumes.  The black-eyes peas doubled in size and I realized that I didn’t add enough water.  Remember to add lots of extra water for beans because the soaking causes them to absorb water and expand to double or even triple their size.  I rinsed the quinoa and beans well before cooking,  and was happy when the beans were done in 15 minutes, because on the box  directions it called for a 2 hour cooking time.  The quinoa was ready in about the same amount of time.  Both the quinoa and the peas had this really rich, soft texture and taste and I must admit that I noticed a difference (in a good way) in the way my body felt after eating them.

Here is a really handy soaking and sprouting chart – I posted mine on my fridge to use as a cheat sheet.

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Fall Fever

A few weekends ago we were away on Martha’s Vineyard at a wedding, and my camera went (mysteriously!) missing on the very first night. Julian got me a simple backup digital camera at a local shop, and it surprised us both by taking some amazing photos! Even more incredible, is that one week to the day after coming home, the restaurant where we lost the camera called to say that it had been found! Here are a few photos from the weekend.


Gorgeous sunset on our drive home.




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New Discoveries…

I’ve been experimenting a lot with new foods because for 3-6 months I’m on a dairy and gluten-free diet (more on that later).  The other night I was craving pasta…since it’s been exactly 3 weeks, 4 days and 9 hours since my last taste of pappardelle…but who’s counting?

I remembered that I’d bought quinoa pasta a month or two ago but I kept finding excuses not to try it because to be honest, I just thought it sounded weird.  Maybe because no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get 100% behind the brown rice bread that everyone raves about as a fantastic gluten-free substitute. So I was feeling skeptical.

Well, I finally bit the bullet and was ecstatic to discover that quinoa pasta (spaghetti to be specific) tasted REALLY GOOD!  REALLY.  Not just great as in the way people say “whole wheat pasta tastes just like the normal kind” (lies), but great as in my fiance – who’s picky about his carbs –  ate it and couldn’t tell the difference.  Here’s a great recipe for quinoa pasta, although it will taste delicious with any of your favorite recipes used for traditional pasta.

Lesson learned.  This reminded me to try and keep an open mind about trying new things.  Although I’m not sure I’m quite up to speed with the newest trend at this Brooklyn Restaurant but never say never 🙂

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