written by Jamie Shaw
As a follow up to an earlier blog post on safe sunscreen….as well as July being the heart of summer, I thought now would be a good time to discuss the sunshine vitamin: Vitamin D! Sun exposure has been known to get a bad wrap, so let’s get things straight!
What do I need to know about Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is such an important fat soluble vitamin that plays many roles in the body. A vitamin D deficiency has been linked with increased cases of osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, cancer and heart disease to name a few.
Humans make 90% of our vitamin D naturally from sunlight exposure to our skin. When this happens our bodies begin to convert cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D3, which is the most absorbable form of vitamin D.
We Love The Sun
Living in Canada where it is pretty difficult to get the proper amount of sunshine in those long winter months it is often recommended to supplement vitamin D. But in the summer we can get it for free from the sun!! Although you have to be careful not to overexpose yourself, sunlight is still the best/natural source of vitamin D.
One of the reasons sunlight is the best source of vitamin D is because when we are exposed to it via the sun, our bodies take what it needs and de-metabolizes any extra. Whereas if you take too much through supplementation your body may over-process calcium which can be harmful! So it is always your safest bet to get your vitamin D from the sun…. hence it being called the sunshine vitamin!
How Much Do I Get?
According to the The Sunshine Vitamin.Org you can get between 3000 and 20,000 IU of vitamin D from 10-15 minutes of sun exposure. Of course this varies from person to person as well as compounding variables such as latitude, time of day, year and skin type.
Can I Eat It?
BUT the sun and supplements are not your only source of vitamin D. We can also get it from food sources! The World’s Healthiest Foods has provided a great list of foods rich in vitamin D. Salmon is an excellent source of Vitamin D…containing approximately 1060 IU per 4 oz. serving. Other great food sources are eggs and sardines. Vegans and vegetarians can obtain vitamin D from shitake mushrooms.
Adults between the ages of 19-50 have a recommended daily allowance for vitamin D of 600 IU. This can easily be obtained through sunshine and food.
So go enjoy the sunshine…. without over exposure of course!!
One of our favorite ways to use shitake mushrooms is in homemade vegetable sushi rolls.
Marinaded Shitake Mushroom Nori Rolls
½ cup brown rice, soaked overnight
4 sheets of nori
1 cup dried shitake mushrooms (rehydrated), chopped in strips
1 small cucumber
2 Tbsp tamari
2 Tbsp maple syrup
brown rice vinegar
1. The night before you want to make sushi, soak the mushrooms in water for 5-15 minutes, to rehydrate them. Cut into strips.
2. Mix the mushrooms together with tamari and maple syrup, and allow to mariande overnight. Store in the refrigerator.
3. Prepare the brown rice. Rinse off and then bring to a boil in a small pot with 1 cup of water. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 25-20 minutes, until soft.
4. While the rice is cooking, slice the other veggies into thin strips.
5. Allow the rice to cool.
6. Spread a few spoonfuls of rice out on a sheet of nori. Carefully make a thin line of mushrooms across the rice, about 1 inch away from one end of the nori sheet.
7. Add a layer of cucumbers and avocados.
8. Fold the 1-inch piece of nori over top of the vegetables and tightly roll the nori until it is closed up.
9. Sprinkle sesame seeds over top and serve with toppings of choice.