Tuesday, February 28, 2012


 In my recent "manifesto" in response to The Burning Question, I wrote:

I want my challenges to feel like a cooking experiment: relying on knowledge, experience, creativity, and intuition, then taking a calculated risk.

Revisiting this statement, plus watching the TEDxTalk on the Happiness Advantage has been helping me change my perspective about my work: as the speaker said, having a positive perspective stimulates dopamine in the body, which turns on all the learning centers of the brain. I could use some of that!

In the back of my mind, I knew that. Isn't that why children have to feel safe, secure, and loved to be most fully prepared to learn?

It was a great reminder though. My work has been feeling like this huge, overwhelming, black hole (because it can swallow me in and suck the life out of me) kind of task.

On one hand, I feel like I'm so close to the end... but on the other hand, there's a steep mountain to climb before I get there.


And then I thought, how do I FEEL when I am in the kitchen and creating? Cooking is a lot of things to me. It's a de-stressor, it's a creative outlet. It truly is culinary therapy. But today when I thought about it, what stood out to me the most is one thing: I feel IN CONTROL.

In contrast, for several months I did not feel in control of my work. Knowing how I am through past history and experience, situations in which I don't feel in control (of the circumstances, not people!) are the ones that give me the most anxiety. I understand that I can't be in control of everything. But feeling like I have zero control is nerve-wracking.

Then I realized, how can I feel in control in this context?

I said this silently in my head: I am bigger than my dissertation.

Somehow, it just all started to click. Just as in the kitchen, in which I have knowledge, experience, intuition, and creativity, I started to relate the same things to my work: I have knowledge in my field. I have experience working with young children and families. I have my professional ethics and professional judgment as a result of my knowledge, values, and experience, thus feeding my intuition. And yes, I can create too. And take a calculated leap.

I can be in control. I am in control of my dissertation. My dissertation does not have to control me. 

And so I take several deep breaths, and go back to writing. I can do this.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

the happiness advantage

Mulling over the ideas from Shawn Achor's TEDxTalk on The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance.

Not all the concepts discussed here are new, however the speaker articulates the concept so enthusiastically. I'd say it's worth 12 minutes of your time.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

wholesome, homemade crackers

I've been loving this blog lately. The information she offers is informative, helpful, yet practical, accessible, and realistic. She also seems to "walk the talk" when it comes to health and fitness, which I find really inspiring.

One of her recent recipes is for homemade crackers. I for one love a crunchy snack, but never really liked the packaged crackers you can get at the store. A. and I have a soft spot for Stacy's pita chips, however, as a delivery system for hummus and other vegetarian/bean-based dips.  But I still do want to reduce my intake of processed/packaged food in favor of homemade.

In the past 3 weeks, I've made...

- 2 batches of the original combination, with rosemary and cheddar
- 3 batches with herbes de Provence and cheddar

My next experiment will be thyme, lemon, and maybe some other kind of aged cheese. Gruyere maybe? Or maybe cracked black pepper and lemon zest? I love recipes like this, in which I can play around with ingredients depending on my mood or what I have available.

I've been so addicted to these, but they are so good for you. The oats provide fiber, and the almond meal provides protein and calcium. The cheese provides a little richness to balance out the "roughage". And since I love extra virgin olive oil probably as much as Paula Deen loves butter, I added maybe a spoonful of olive oil and reduced the water to add just a touch more richness.

They are SO easy to make. I pretty much always have the ingredients on hand, and it makes our apartment smell like rosemary and other herbs each time I make it. It's a great snack option for my afternoon crunching habit.

Trust me, you'll love these.

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happy Friday!

I love seeing art in unexpected places.

Taco Tonto's, a cozy and colorful Mexican restaurant in Kent, Ohio

A splash of color and dose of art on a gray Friday = happiness!

Photos of Mardi Gras and New Orleans on display, by my dear friend Debra-Lynn Hook

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

be your own best friend

I had a recent conversation with a colleague, a former preschool teacher turned doctoral student. Needless to say, both of us are currently in high stress, in an environment where excellence is the bare minimum. I would guess many of you have been or are in this kind of situation, no matter your profession. My colleague and I talked about how, through our work with young children, we tend to behave in compassionate, flexible, and forgiving ways toward the children, understanding that each child can have a rough day. On the other hand, we tend to be overly critical of ourselves... when in truth, we are also allowed to have bad days. 

One day, in the course of my food blog-surfing, I chanced upon this blog and read this:

"My old therapist says that we should believe in ourselves just as much. She says that if we had a friend who doubted us as much as we, at times, doubt ourselves, we wouldn’t even speak to that person. And she’s right. Who wants to be friends with someone who undermines and second-guesses her?" (Olga Massov, Sassy Radish)

A moment of serendipity. What a great reminder, and an answer to my question in this recent post about making more positive choices. The question was: Do my thoughts reflect compassion, or perpetuate harm?

I then thought of how I've often harmed myself through my own overly critical thoughts, when I turned on my Doubting Thomas mode... when really, I should be my own best friend.

my nieces, age 3 (photo taken by my brother)

In times of stress, crisis, or great challenge, what would your best friend say to you? And could you say those positive things to yourself?

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Friday, February 17, 2012

creamy fennel and broccoli soup

A few months ago I mentioned this amazing soup I had at one of our favorite local restaurants - fennel and broccoli soup. I'm actually not the biggest fan of broccoli, which is a little ironic considering I'm vegetarian (or am I???) and broccoli is such a powerhouse vegetable. I don't know - I just don't react very well to it and don't enjoy that bloated feeling (TMI, sorry). Which is surprising because I can eat half my weight in beans everyday with no problem. But I absolutely loved this soup - maybe because in soup form, the broccoli was cooked to within an inch of its life. And I absolutely LOVE fennel in any form. This past week I started craving it again, so out comes my trusty soup pot.

Creamy Fennel and Broccoli Soup

olive oil and butter for sauteeing, about a tablespoon each
half a large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 fennel bulb (trimmed of stalks and leaves), diced
florets from about half a head of broccoli
vegetable broth (about a quart maybe? more or less.)
salt and pepper
flat leaf Italian parsley
about 1/4 cup of grated sharp white cheddar
a generous dollop of mascarpone cheese, plus more for garnishing (live a little, right?)
more parsley or chives for garnishing (optional)

1. Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot. I like combining the olive oil and butter for flavor, and butter has such a low smoke point so adding olive oil helps prevent it from burning.
2. Saute the onion, celery, and fennel. Add a little salt and pepper (season as you go, as Barefoot Contessa says), and let it cook until the vegetables are softened.
3.  Add the garlic and let it cook till fragrant. Throw in the broccoli, then add the vegetable broth.
4. Let it come to a boil, then lower the heat to simmering. Cover the pot to let everything simmer for a while.
5. Add the parsley. Using a hand blender, puree everything until smooth. Add the grated cheddar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the mascarpone cheese until it melts into the soup. Garnish with a small dollop of mascarpone cheese or a drizzle of your best olive oil, and more chopped parsley or chives if you like.

This soup is so good - and so good for you. The small amount cheddar adds a little richness, without making it taste like the typical scary-orange broccoli cheddar soup that actually looks like melted cheddar with occasional bits of broccoli (no thanks). The mascarpone cheese adds a really nice, creamy consistency to the soup without a ton of heavy cream.

This can also be made dairy-free if you prefer -- obviously omit the butter, and then add a small or medium potato, peeled and chopped, along with the other vegetables. When it's time to puree everything, the potato adds a little more thickness and creaminess to the soup.

If you want an even more velvety and silky mouthfeel, you can strain the soup through a sieve before serving. But I didn't have enough patience for that. ;-)

As you can see, I didn't have patience for adding the garnish either...sorry I couldn't make it "pretty" for the blog...too hungry!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

it's not just my imagination...

As it turns out, there is a reason for my winter blues and persistent lack of energy. It's not just my imagination. Comforting news after a difficult several days last week.

In the hopes that this also helps someone else, I'm disclosing my health information here. After my blood test last week, I heard from my doctor. Thankfully, most of my results look great - thyroid is normal (thyroid disorder runs in my family, so this is something I get checked out periodically), cholesterol and sugar levels are normal and healthy, which is a relief for this dessert-loving gal. Is this license to have a few more spoonfuls homemade pistachio ice cream? :)

homemade pistachio ice cream, following this recipe... enjoyed with gelato spoons (yes, there is such a thing and yes, they are necessary ;-)) from this friend

However, my test results also indicated that I don't get enough protein, despite the hefty amounts of beans and lentils that we eat on an almost daily basis, plus lots of Greek yogurt, nuts and nut butters.... It also turns out that my vitamin D level is currently at 5.9, and I should be at 31 at the very least. Statistically, my levels are within the lowest 10% that my doctor has seen. Yikes.

(As a side note, I love my doctor for how she started with the positive things first)

The good news is, there is a fix. She recommended a prescription-strength vitamin-D supplement, which is 50,000 IU twice a week. Or, I can find an over-the-counter supplement for 5,000 IU which I will then take twice a day everyday to get 70,000 IU a week. The issue with the prescription-strength one is that it does have gelatin or may have a shellfish-derived ingredient (to which I'm allergic). After doing some research, I did find a vegetarian supplement from a company called Seeking Health. The information on the website (as well as the company's information) looked good, and so I'm going to try this one. I also looked into this one, which was recommended by a friend, and I also have tried Garden of Life supplements before. However, the largest dose Garden of Life has is 2,000 IUs - which makes it a bit impractical for me to pop 5 of these a day. I will keep this one in mind though for maintenance when my levels go up to more desirable levels (which will be based on another blood test 3 months from now).

Information is empowering. I only wish I had known about it sooner - if I had not dismissed what I was feeling, I would have sought a solution sooner as well and perhaps it would not have interfered with my life so much the past few months.

But I can only look ahead now, so I'm looking forward to feeling the sunshine. :)

To anyone reading this: please don't take this as medical advice by any means - please consult with your doctor first as these mega-doses recommended to me are probably not for everyone. My only hope is that anyone feeling the way I have been for these past several months will consider asking their doctor or healthcare provider about vitamin D.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

a little dose of art on a Monday... or 2096 doses, if your heart so desires

I know this is not new, but I just wanted to share something that has brightened my days lately. Her Morning Elegance is an award-winning stop motion video (and a great song!), and now you can purchase a piece of art from a selection of 2096 single edition prints that were used to make the video. Click here to visit the photo gallery!

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information de-cluttering update

So this is my 2nd month of de-cluttering my technology use and so far, so good. I surprised even myself by checking facebook only twice over the past week - once on Friday, and once more during the weekend. Not so bad, if I do say so myself.

I'm definitely feeling the effects, in that it encourages me to stay in touch with people in more meaningful ways. Over the weekend I gave this good friend a call and caught up on each other's lives and other news. We also went to see a couple of friends for tea on Saturday, and had lunch with the same friends on Sunday. I think that's the most social weekend my husband and I have had over the past several weeks as we try to find balance with our very long working hours.

One might argue that it can be easy to do such things even with Facebook. Well, sure it can. However, I'm finding that interacting with people in more meaningful ways is more enriching to my life (and hopefully, the other person's life too). It can be all too easy to hibernate in the winter. And we all know how meaningful friendships and a support system are great for reducing stress and for overall well-being.

So. I'm working on making better choices overall, and trying to frame them in positive ways. I find that telling myself to choose something positive is more empowering than telling myself "NO _____". With that in mind, I ask myself: Does this activity serve as a mindless distraction, or truly enrich my life in some way?

Which made me think about the many ways I can choose something more positive in other areas of my life:
  • Does this food nourish my body long-term, or satisfy a short-term craving? 
  • Does this "thing" provide beauty or serve a function (ideally both) in my home, or add to my clutter?
  • Does this thought reflect compassion, or perpetuate harm? (I am my worst critic, after all.)
  • Do my words speak of kindness, or negativity?  
I guess unplugging does have more benefits than I expected... hope I can keep the positive choices going throughout the busy week (and months!) ahead. I realize that I will not make "perfect" choices 100% of the time, and that my not-so-good choices may not be intentional. But at least I can have these reminders to keep me on track, hopefully more often than not.

PS: An interesting article - The Joy of Quiet.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

a vegetarian's dilemma

This kindred spirit wrote a thoughtful post on her blog sometime ago about vegetarianism, veganism, raw food-ism, and other diets/lifestyles/"-isms".

It made me look back and think about my gradual transition to my current vegetarian diet, which for me personally means no animal flesh or by-products that require killing the animal (like broth or gelatin), but occasional dairy and eggs, organic and/or from a local farm whenever possible. Now one  can debate on what does and does not constitute vegetarianism, however this is only my personal journey on how I've adopted the practice. And so, my transition:

around age 23: started giving up beef and pork. (Goodbye, pork adobo {the quintessential Filipino dish})

around age 24: started giving up chicken. (So long, chicken adobo... thinking, darn, my sister-in-law makes it really good...)

around age 26: 
- Started giving up fish. (Hello, spinach adobo.)
- Thinking that a flesh-free diet was "kinder" to our environmental resources due to the waste products from factory farming.
- Had to explain myself a number of times to relatives during social gatherings, that unfortunately, I'd love to try your chicken pasta salad but can't just move the chicken aside and eat only the pasta. Or, sorry, I'll go for the pasta with creamy Alfredo sauce (ironic, I know) so I won't have to move the shrimp aside to eat my way through your shrimp, noodle, and vegetable stir-fry.
- Hoped I was not offending anybody at said social gatherings, given the food-centric, omnivore culture I was raised in, but at the same time felt good about my choice to be vegetarian for all these reasons.
- Viewed food choices as black-and-white: people place themselves in categories, in these "-isms". Made me think that perhaps I should as well.

around age 27: 
- Experimented with a dairy-free and egg-free diet. I gave up dairy and eggs for a while, but did not adopt an allover vegan philosophy/lifestyle - meaning I still consumed honey, and used my existing leather shoes/purse, wool socks and coat, and silk scarves. I figured I'd rather keep them and use them rather than throw them into a landfill for the sake of calling myself "vegan."
- Ate more beans, lentils, nuts & nut butters, seeds, and whole grains as protein sources.
- Ate more soy.
- Got scared about the possible dangers of too much soy.
- Every now and then I missed raw fish sushi, due to the lack of creative options for vegetarian sushi beyond the ubiquitous, sad california veggie roll. (Raw fish sushi was so much a part of my childhood memories back home, as it was popular in the Philippines and in my family.)
- Started juicing fruits and vegetables.

around age 27, 2 months later: 
- Went back to my occasional dairy and eggs for additional protein (was training for a race)
- Dessert was just too good for me to pass up (hence the dairy and eggs). Creme brulee is just not the same with silken tofu, and - rum pound cake was just SO much better with real, organic butter compared to Earth Balance "butter" and real eggs from the farmer's market compared to the egg substitute. Revelatory, I know.

around age 28: 
- Read The World Peace Diet* and learned about (and read through parts of) The Omnivore's Dilemma*.
- Started questioning the "-isms". Felt somewhat inspired by The World Peace Diet, but I must have not fully understood its premise, as I was more confused than anything. In all honesty I wasn't sold on it -- believing that there are many other ways to peace than our food choices. Kudos to all those who tread lightly on the earth by adopting a plant-based, peaceful diet/lifestyle (and I say this with all sincerity - not trying to patronize here). But at the same time, I surmised that there could very likely be a peace-loving, compassionate omnivore raising animals humanely** just as much as there could be a belligerent non-flesh-eating person. And what about the rural farmer who makes a living and supports his family, supports his children's education/vocation through their sustainable animal farm?
- Viewed food choices as less black-and-white. Definitely more shades of gray.
- Liked Michael Pollan's mantra: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Liked the non-label, common-sense approach of this lifestyle choice. Still could not go back to being an omnivore though.


- Still experimenting with eating minimal dairy and eggs; no animal flesh/broth whatsoever. Still eating mostly legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains as protein sources.
- Tried a few meat substitutes (e.g., packaged frozen veggie burgers) out of curiosity, and did not like most of them, especially the ones that claim to taste like beef. Tried seitan, and it was just...ok.
- Realized that I'd rather not have overly processed, "manufactured", and packaged meat substitutes as a part of my daily diet.

around age 28, 29, 30: 
- Relied on my mainstay protein sources: legumes, nuts, seeds, grains. Soy in moderation: only miso, tofu, and soy milk.
- Did not miss meat.
- Still experimented with dairy-free and egg-free phases (short ones), but never completely "vegan".
- Feeling ok with my choices and health overall.
- Read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle* and felt inspired to source food locally whenever possible (since I can't quite pack up and start a farm at this point). Reinforced my belief in that there are many ways to peace and sustainability (however that's defined - raising animals ethically**, smaller carbon footprint, supporting and contributing to your own local economy, etc etc etc).


- Tried to buy more organic food at "Whole Paycheck," despite the higher price tag (I figured, I wasn't paying for other luxuries, such as cable TV  - I could spend a bit more on my daily nourishment).
- Still a little confused about this whole "organic" vs "local" debate, as illustrated below:


- This time though, I think people stopped asking about my choices and I stopped explaining. Of all my family members' questions though, my nephew's question is without a doubt the best one.

around age 31, 32: 
- Started questioning my other lifestyle choices. Had these internal debates about my food choices vs other product choices - for example, choosing not to eat meat because I claim to dislike the idea of factory farming. But at the same time, I tend to buy clothes that are inexpensive but very likely made in less than ideal conditions in a sweatshop in a developing country - quite possibly the human equivalent of factory farming in agriculture. Who knows.
- Wondered, while I am fortunate to be in a situation in which I can make better food choices, why can't I make better choices with other products? I do try to support more "artisan" made products like those being sold on Etsy, but by and large it's the small price tag that draws me to the inexpensive (possibly sweatshop-produced) shirt vs the "fair trade" item or the homemade, but more expensive item.
- Then I remind myself (or try to convince myself) that it's not all or nothing - that every choice counts.
- And so I turn a blind eye...

{since you made it this far...}

age: a little shy of 33: 
- I ate fish. Yes, you read that right. I. ATE. FISH. I went to Whole Paycheck yesterday and bought a 3-ounce piece of wild atlantic sockeye salmon***, which I baked simply in white wine, salt, and pepper.  All in an effort to boost my possibly-deficient vitamin D levels.
- Pushed guilty thoughts aside, and decided to be thankful for this meal. Silently expressed gratitude for what I doubt hope trust to be a truly wild, beautiful, naturally salmon-pink piece of salmon that swam its way upstream, ate what was naturally available on the food chain, and had all sorts of adventures (or perhaps I should say misadventures) before landing on my plate, to be eaten along with a big pile of French green beans (haricot vert if you want to be fancy) sauteed in olive oil, garlic, and lemon.
- Started thinking that it was, in fact, a heck of a good meal... though I disliked the lingering, fishy aftertaste of my lunch afterwards. Or was it the aftertaste of guilt I disliked more?
- Brushed my teeth, perhaps also in an effort to metaphorically brush away any remaining guilt.
- And this is not too long after I did an online search on vegetarian vitamin D supplements (no bovine gelatin). Ah, the irony of it all...

What's a girl to do?

Do I hold fast to the "-ism" that I've defined for myself, or do I let it go, listen to my body, and fuel it with what I intuitively think it needs for my overall well-being?

Am I doing my body good, or taking the easy way out?

I don't know. Maybe I'm overthinking. I do know though (for now) that I'm not ready for fish to be an everyday staple.

Interestingly, here is an article on former vegetarians now eating (sustainably-farmed/ethically raised**) meat:

Why Vegetarians Are Eating Meat

And, another piece that can quite possibly be a response to the above article:

When Did Vegetarianism Become Passe?

Is this what we can now call a vegetarian's dilemma?


*I'm not attempting to do reviews or critiques of these books by any means... just my personal thoughts on the matter.

**One might argue that there's no such thing as an ethical process of raising animals for food, with the premise that the very act of killing them for food is unethical... but this topic is beyond what I'm writing about right now. Once again... this is just my personal journey.

*** 3 ounces of salmon did not actually cost my whole paycheck. :)

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

the burning question... from Danielle LaPorte

Danielle LaPorte, in her website, asks: How do you want it to feel? This beautiful yogini-friend posted her response on her blog, and the thinking and imagery resulting from these questions became contagious. So I got inspired to do the same. Here goes...

- A Manifesto -

I want my day to feel like a busy yet calm, organized, and productive kitchen.

I want kissing to feel like the very first time.

I want my next success to feel like a soulfully composed photograph.

I want my body to feel like the grace, strength, and exuberant joy of a dolphin moving through the water.

I want smiling to feel like spring flowers turning their faces to the sun.

I want my friendships to feel like a refreshing breath of fresh air and a home-cooked meal -- warm and nurturing, made with love and positive energy, leaving people wanting to come back for seconds (or more!).

I want my nervous system to feel like a coconut oil massage on the beach in the Philippines, caressed by the tropical sun and the salty ocean breeze.

I want my neighborhood to feel like the energy, diversity, and community in a farmer's market on a Saturday morning.

I want my integrity to feel like a pillar of quiet strength*, grace, and compassion.

I want my work to feel like a spirited, intelligent conversation between my left brain and right brain.

I want my money-making to feel like a nonzero-sum game.

I want my laughter to feel like a belly ache from laughing too hard at my comedian brother's jokes at our long, leisurely family dinners as I was growing up.

I want the end of the day to feel like a deep belly breath, a delicious yin stretch, and a warm hug from my husband. 

I want being of service to feel like kaizen in the world of education.

I want my philanthropy to feel like what sunshine does to plant life, nourishing and allowing them to blossom and bear fruit.

I want my challenges to feel like a cooking experiment: relying on knowledge, experience, creativity, and intuition, then taking a calculated risk.

I want my writing to feel like a reminder of the connection between all of us as human beings in this world, dreaming, aspiring, doing, and finding our way in our messy and delicious lives.

I want my love to feel like ocean waves gently lapping the shore -- magical, yet steadfast and certain.

I want my ideas to feel like a young child discovering and exploring the world for the first time.

I'd love to hear from you, friends... how do you want it to feel?

*"A pillar of quiet strength" is from my best friend's (of 23 years!) description of me, when we graduated college and dreamed of seeing the world.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"sunshine on my shoulders...

 ...makes me happy..." (John Denver)

Yesterday I went to see a new doctor who came highly recommended by a friend. I feel fortunate that, besides my yearly physical exam, I don't actually have to see doctors much (knock on wood). But when I do, I would like to see someone who puts me at ease and lets me ask whatever questions I have. This doctor turned out to be really sweet, and she made me feel that she was really devoting that hour to me.

After our conversation, she suspected that I may be vitamin D-deficient, which is actually a common condition for those living far away from the equator. I knew that vitamin D plays into our health and well-being in so many ways - from the health of our bones, muscles, and even our heart, to our affect, mood, and energy. I actually have stopped wearing sunblock or any products containing sunscreen for the past few years, for this very reason (and for the nasty chemicals that are in many sunscreen brands). Neither my job nor my lifestyle requires me to spend all day in the sun - in which case one should wear protective clothing, or be selective about sunscreen products. Here in Cleveland, where bright sunshine is not an everyday occurrence (to put it mildly), healthy sun exposure becomes even more important to me. Since I am naturally tan (genetics + growing up in the tropics), it actually takes larger doses of sun exposure for my body to generate vitamin D than fair-skinned people. Natural News is a great source on information on the topic, such as this article and this one.

It's funny that despite knowing these things, I feel like it only hit me when someone told me that I may be vitamin D-deficient. Of course, it takes a blood test to actually confirm it (which I will do sometime this week). But it may explain the things I'm feeling, rather than trying to convince myself that I'm only imagining it.

I believe that if we listen to our bodies, our bodies will tell us what we need. No wonder every time the sun has come out this winter, I jump at the chance to be outside to get some sun. Thankfully we've been having a mild winter (and I mean 40 degree weather in January and February - almost unheard of in my neck of the woods - which makes me a happy girl). So every chance I get I've been going outside, even to walk and do my errands. Unfortunately, I was told that only exposing the face, which is the only exposure I get in the winter, is not enough. Neither is sitting in a car or indoors by a window - because the glass blocks The UV rays. I would actually need to expose myself directly to the sun when the sun is at its peak while wearing shorts and a sleeveless top, for about 20 minutes (maybe more because of my tan skin). I get this easily in the summer months, but not for most of the year.

would love to be sun-kissed on a beach right now... (Source)

I wish we could have lots of sunshine for the most natural vitamin D, but I may have to resort to supplements to get my recommended 2,000 IUs. Vitamin D from food alone is not enough, as I learned from this article - plus many of these sources are not vegetarian. I've been trying to find supplements that are vegetarian (no gelatin) in case the blood test does confirm that I do need it.

Have you had your vitamin D levels checked? What are your thoughts on this? Are you as affected by the winter blues as I am?

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