Are those winter blues killing you?
Now the Cut Fluff life is not just about lowering your environmental footprint and using clean products, it is also about connecting to nature and living a healthy life.
Going outside and spending some good quality time in the sun and amongst plants and animals is actually very beneficial to your health. In a previous video, I explained why taking your shoes off when outside helps you ground and soak-up antioxidants. Today, I’m going to focus on the sun and a vitamin our own bodies create by themselves.
That’s right! Our bodies produce Vitamin D when exposed to the sun. To be more specific, a fair-skinned individual generates about 10,000-20,000 IU of vitamin D3 in 15-30 minutes when fully exposed to a noon sun without any sunblock.
Let’s break that down.
If you are fair-skinned, you soak up the suns rays faster then if you are dark-skinned. If you are dark-skinned, then you will need at least double the time, 40-50 minutes.
How many IUs of Vitamin D should you be getting every day to not be a deficit and be at risk for soft bones and weak body? Well, it’s complicated. The best starting place is to have your blood tested for Vitamin D levels. If your tests come back saying your blood contains less than 20 ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter), then you are deficient and are at risk for poor skeletal, infection/inflammatory, and metabolic health.
Actually, the newest statistics say that 90% of dark-skinned and 75% of fair-skinned people in the United States are Vitamin D deficient especially during the winter months.
You can actually tell when you are Vitamin D deficient too! It’s called the winter blues. You get can get any of these symptoms:
Weak Immune System
High Blood Pressure
Respiratory Problems (Asthma)
Chronic Kidney Disease
This is because Vitamin D plays a huge role in regulating adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine production in the brain. It also protects against the depletion of serotonin. This is why it feels so good to go outside and stand in the sun!
This is just another way that connecting with nature can have profound effects on the mind and body. Get some GOOD OL’ FRILUFTSLIV!
Back to the question, how many IUs of Vitamin D should you take every day to feel good? Well, depending on your symptoms and Vitamin D levels in your body, anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 IUs a day is recommended to keep your Vitamin D blood level between 30 and 50 ng/ml. Check my resources below to find out where those numbers came from.
So, if you find yourself not able to enjoy a noon sun (between 10 AM and 3 PM) or if you bathe in sunblock, or always cover your skin when outside, you are at a high risk for Vitamin D deficiency. This is where eating foods high in Vitamin D or drinking milk is recommended.
Vitamin D Rich Foods
The best food to eat for Vitamin D is fish especially wild caught fish like salmon. 3.5 oz of freshly caught salmon has 600-1000IUs of Vitamin D compared to the same amount of farmed raised salmon has 100-250IUs.
There are many other fish in the ocean that can provide a good about of Vitamin D, but if you don’t like fish or don’t want to deplete their numbers any more than we already have, then you are in luck. The next food with high Vitamin D is mushrooms for instance Maitake or Portabella. They come in about 600 IUs but only if they are grown with exposure to UV light.
However, plants product Vitamin D2 and not Vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is less absorbable and less active in our bodies. We need Vitamin D3. If you don’t like fish or mushrooms, then another option is eating lots of eggs. 1 whole egg contains about 40 IUs. You would need to eat about 50 eggs to get the recommended dose of 2,000 IU.
If that doesn’t fit your fancy, then drink 13 gallons of raw whole milk to get your 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D. If you do the math that’s about 9 IUs per cup!
If you don’t want to eat fish, mushrooms, eggs, or drink that much milk than a Vitamin D3 supplement is best for you. This is what it has come down to for my husband, Justin, and me since we live in Minnesota and don’t get a lot of sun during this time of year.
We also don’t eat a lot of fish and only on occasion do we eat mushrooms (but who knows if those mushrooms were exposed to UV light!). We also don’t eat 50 eggs a day. It’s more like less than one carton split between the two of us a week.
I also never drink whole milk. When I do ingest milk, it is from my homemade yogurt. However, heating foods containing Vitamin D decrease their level of IU sometimes significantly like when you heat milk to make yogurt. Because the milk already contains very fell Vitamin D IUs, I would need to eat almost 300 cups of yogurt every day to reach 2,000 IUs. My stomach would hurt SOOO much!
Justin actually has it worse than me because his job requires him to be indoors all day long. Plus his skin burns super-fast when he is outside so he is always putting on sunblock and covering up his skin. He doesn’t get Vitamin D from our diet either. He ingests less milk than me because his body rejects lactose. The last avenue he can do is to take a supplement.
But this is the real kicker.
He hates swallowing anything bigger than a tic-tac and even that is tricky. Yes, there are chewable tablets out there, but you try finding a quality one without sugar, artificial flavors, dyes, or other unwanted ingredients. It is hard!
There’s also the fun fact that Vitamin D3 supplements are normally obtained from the wool of sheep. That’s right! They sheer the wool from the sheep and turn it into the Vitamin D. Unfortunately, the wool is most likely to have been exposed to sheep dip which is an insecticide and fungicide to keep sheep from getting mites, flies, ticks, and lice. YUCK! I don’t want that anywhere near my body.
But never fear, there’s an alternative! Researchers have discovered that lichen (pronounced ‘liken’), an algae type plant that grows on trees and rocks, produces Vitamin D3 which is rare in plants. This is a game changer in the world of Vitamin D supplements.
The lichen that is wild harvested is very abundant in northern countries. It is harvested and then put through a multi-step precedes to extract the vitamin and then place it in a capsule.
Shoot! The capsule issue again! But guess what?
I have figured out a solution. I am opening of the capsules and adding the Vitamin D3 to “Fat Bombs”. Fat bombs are like “protein balls” or other similar foods. They consist of fats and flavoring. They are excellent for curbing cravings and you can add what you want to them.
I have created a Peppermint-Chocolate Vitamin D3 Fat Bomb for Justin. This is a great solution because they are not heated, so they don’t lose any Vitamin IUs. Justin will be able to eat and chew them (huge plus!), and they are loaded with other healthy ingredients. What the video below to learn how I made them.
Recipe for 36 Peppermint-Chocolate Vitamin D3 Fat Bomb:
1 cup almond butter (homemade: ground 2 cups roasted unsalted almonds in a food processor for 5-10 minutes)
1 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 cup cacao powered
36 open capsules of Vitamin D3 (here’s the kind I like)
1 drop of peppermint essential oil (quality is important!)
*You can add a little stevia if you’d prefer them to be a bit sweeter. I would also recommend only eating 1 of these fat bombs a day to not overdose on Vitamin D3.
Alright, to sum everything up, get outside and enjoy the sun as much as possible. If you can’t, look eating more Vitamin D rich foods. If you can’t do that either, look into Vitamin D3 supplements. And if you want to stay in the clean state of mind, opt for Vitamin D3 sources from lichen (like this one).
Doing any of these will kick your winter blues in the butt and help you feel more energetic and happy! But remember, I’m not a doctor, so get your blood work done!
Staying healthy and preventing illnesses is all a part of living a clean, sustainable life. Prevention is ALWAYS better than treating. Give yourself some self-love. Know and understand the beautiful body that you have been given. And definitely, don’t wait for the very last unbearable second before taking action.
That’s all I have for you. Have a beautiful day and go enjoy the sun!
Take care of yourself.
Daily Nutrition Review
- Is Vitamin D Lost During Cooking: https://dailynutritionreview.com/blog/2014/02/01/is-vitamin-d-lost-during-cooking/
Vitamin D Council
- Testing for Vitamin D: https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/testing-for-vitamin-d/
- How is a vitamin D deficiency diagnosed?: https://www.medicinenet.com/vitamin_d_deficiency/article.htm
- Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms & Sources to Reverse It!: https://draxe.com/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms/
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
- Update in vitamin D: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20133466
- Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency That Most People Ignore: https://www.healthyway.com/content/symptoms-of-vitamin-d-deficiency-that-most-people-ignore/?rtg=expandedconsciousness-wuRrxL¶m4=hwy-fni-fbss-2861-demo
- Vitamin D Deficiency: https://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/vitamin-d-deficiency#1
- 8 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms#modal-close
Health Hub by Sunwarrior
- Vegan Vitamin D3 Benefits: https://sunwarrior.com/healthhub/vegan-vitamin-d3-benefits
- Lichen-based vegan vitamin D3 gains momentum as Nordic Naturals introduces new product: https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2012/12/07/Lichen-based-vegan-vitamin-D3-gains-momentum-as-Nordic-Naturals-introduces-new-product
- Veggie vitamin D3 maker explores novel production process to secure future supplies: https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2012/03/13/Veggie-vitamin-D3-maker-explores-novel-production-process-to-secure-future-supplies