Winter + Lockdown #2 = More SADness
Many of us are in second lockdown AND winter, meaning less daylight!
If you’re feeling the blues, there may be a nutritional component to the sadness (“Seasonal Affective Disorder,” aka “SAD”….yup, that’s what it’s actually called!).
Your SADness could be caused by a lack of Vitamin D!
If you’ve had a pattern of feeling sadness or depression in the winter months, or if you’ve made good use of your summer outside a lot, you could be feeling the contrast of Vitamin D amounts.
The best way to get your vitamin D is and always has been sunshine. You literally just need 15-30 minutes as a bare minimum every day if you’re a lighter-skinned individual. If you’re lacking, you will need more to play catchup.
No sunscreen, as much skin exposed as possible (best to also not wear sunglasses because the sunlight is really good for eyes and circadian cycles!).
Please don’t burn. That will do the opposite of what we want here, which is to optimize your health. Everyone will be able to tolerate different durations and intensities, so please make sure you pay attention to what YOU need, regardless of what your friend/family member needs.
Early and late sun exposure are best. If your skin is darker, you’ll need more since the melanin (color) in your skin acts as a bit of a barrier. If your skin is sensitive to sun, be sure to not go out when the sun is basically in the “10-2” positions in the sky clock (not time clock, but if your visual field was a clock face).
When your tolerance gets higher, you can stay out for longer.
Spending some time under a UVB light can also help you produce the Vitamin D as well, so there’s another (yet costly) option.
Here’s the thing….if you’re not able to get the sunshine you need (maybe work hours conflict with daylight hours now, or you’re on medication that contraindicates sun exposure), or you need to play catchup with your Vitamin D, you can supplement with food.
FYI, if you can get your vitamins from real food rather than the vitamin section at the grocery store, your body knows what to do with it more (“bioavailability”). It’s kind of like if someone brought you eggs, flour, oil, vanilla, sugar, and some baking soda….some of you would wonder what to do with it (maybe just put it all in the pantry), and some of you would turn it into a cake. Why not just someone bring you a cake? It’s a lot less work to get the desired results, and you don’t have to do all those extra dishes!
Taking vitamins is like the ingredients to the cake. Whole foods is like the cake. Your body knows what to do with whole foods/cake more than it does with the ingredients.
So…..best way to get your vitamin D without sitting in the sun? Mushrooms cooked in grassfed butter.
Mushrooms alone have the vitamin D in it, and the vitamin K2 in the grassfed (yes, it has to be grassfed because that’s where the cows get their vitamin K to convert into K2 and store into the fat that becomes the butter) butter makes the vitamin D usable for the body. In the earlier cake example, Mushrooms can be the cake, and Butter can be the frosting, because what is cake without frosting, amiright?
Hold up, K2? What’s that, you say? Well, there are two types of vitamin K to concern yourself with right now: K1 and K2
K1 is better for liver, heart, and pancreas, whereas K2 is better for brain, kidneys, anxiety/depression, and bone health. It’s harder for the body to absorb K1 (typically found in dark leafy greens, carrots, broccoli, turnips, blueberries, and grapes), so you need to eat more of those to get your K1 (you can also use the cheat code of cooking those veggies with some fat, which will help absorption). K2 is hardly ever found in plants, unless it’s fermented, like natto. Otherwise, you can get it in many forms of hard cheeses (Jarlsberg cheese is really high in K2), saurkraut, egg yolks, organ meats, chicken, beef, pork, and fatty fish like salmon.
So yes, you can just eat the mushrooms and get some decent Vitamin D absorbed into your system, but to REALLY “take the cake” (haha do you see what I did there?), you add the frosting (grassfed butter), so you need less cake (mushroom) to be satisfied (absorb higher amounts of Vitamin D). You can also “supercharge” your mushrooms with Vitamin D by letting them sit in the sun for a day or so before you cook/eat them. Most mushrooms are grown in the dark now, so they don’t have very much Vitamin D in them.
I mean, if you don’t like mushrooms or want more variety for your ingestible Vitamin D options, you can also eat salmon (wild is best), herring, sardines, cod liver oil, egg yolks (pasture-raised eggs, please!) or canned tuna. These are actually better sources of Vitamin D than mushrooms, since they’re D3, which the body can utilize BETTER than D2 (which is found in mushrooms).
And one final option, if you’re traveling or vegan or >>>(insert other reason to not be able to get enough sunlight/food options)<<<…is to take a supplemental form of Vitamin D. I recommend to get the sublingual (liquid drops that you put under your tongue) that are a combination of K2/D3. Easy to travel with, and because of the combination, it absorbs well.
Even if you don’t feel very SAD, try getting some more Vitamin D to see what changes in your body and your mental health. Most people are lacking Vitamin D, anyhow. Plus, those foods are (in my opinion) absolutely delicious!
In Health and Happiness,