Good morning! The sun has finally decided to grace Alexandria, Va with its presence, and it is supposed to be a beautiful day. I thought I’d take a quick moment while Jason is at the dentist to stop by, say hi, and offer you a sneak peek at our new apartment, and the never ceasing drama that this home selling/rental searching process continues to be. If you are interested, pop over to Jason’s post here. Do you have a crazy story about buying, selling, or renting a home? If so, share below; I’d love to hear that we aren’t the only ones! Have a fantastic weekend, and check in soon for more updates.
Howdy folks, long time no see. I warned you last time that posting would be sporadic as we prepared to move, but even I didn’t foresee this much down time. The last several weeks have been. . .odd. First of all, for the sake of transparency in a matter I’ve already talked so much about, I made a big mistake. If you have been reading for awhile, you know that I’m taking shots for a B12 deficiency. Well, February’s self-administered injection didn’t go so well. I hit a big, honkin’ nerve in my leg and within a few day I was down like a lame horse! So, that was fantastic; it is beginning to get better but is still amazingly uncomfortable to touch, walk on, look at :). The doctor said it was just an unfortunate accident, could happen to anyone, blah, blah. It felt like she was just being nice, that I am incapable, and should leave it to the professionals in the future. At least if they hit a nerve, I don’t feel quite so moronic! On the plus side, I just got my 3 month blood check results in, and my B12 is up from 164 to 275; hooray! That is nowhere near enough to get off supplements, but it is improvement.
In other news, rental hunting is hard these days. Properties are flying off the shelf in a matter of hours, not days, here in the D.C. area. However, after a few let downs, a few scary neighborhoods, and a few “let’s chuck it all and grow coffee in Hawaii” moments, it looks like we may have found a place. I won’t feel secure until we have signed the dotted line, but the situation is looking good and the apartment itself is wonderful. I’m thinking of calling it the Mustard Seed, first, because the building it is in is mustard yellow, and second, if it comes through, it will be a pretty tremendous step in this leap of faith we have been taking (in which there were definitely moments of despair and doubt). We should know definitely by this weekend, so stay tuned!
So, enough about that, I promised you a recipe. How about two for the price of one? Today for lunch I had this
inspired by this. Mine is just toast with goat cheese, beets and lots of arugula but the recipe in the link looks like a fantastic way to do it up a bit more.
For lunch dessert (that is a totally normal and acceptable thing, right?) I had this,
a mango parfait with goat’s milk yogurt, quick, homemade granola, and a sweet dollop of maple syrup. To make this granola you will need:
3 cups mixed g.f. oats, chopped nuts (I did almond, pecan, and walnut), and seeds (flax and chia seen here)
1/4 heaping cup coconut oil
2 1/2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. coconut, shredded or flaked
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix oats, nuts, and seed together in a large bowl. In a small bowl stir together oil, maple, and vanilla. Pour oil mixture over oats and stir with spatula to coat. Spread mix over lined baking sheet and bake in oven for 15 minutes. Add coconut and stir to combine. Return to oven and bake for additional 15 min, checking ever 5 minutes to stir. Remove when golden brown. Cool completely before storing in an air tight container.
Hello, my friends. Can we have a glory, hallelujah moment? Our condo has sold! I’ve waited a week to make sure everything would stick, but now I feel relatively comfortable broadcasting the news. If you have been with me for awhile, you may remember that in October we decided to throw in the towel and accept that this simply isn’t the happiest or healthiest place for us. We rented a storage unit, we purged our belongings remorselessly, we sold furniture, painted, upholstered, built and hacked new teeny-tiny dresser/nightstands. . .and then disaster struck.
When Hurricane Sandy rolled over the East Coast, our area fared pretty well; our condo building did not. Our unit and our next door neighbor’s were flooded by rain water. We lost the floors and the door, and our plans to sell were brought to an immediate full stop. But come February, finally, FINALLY, the new door was put in, the beautiful new floors were installed, we patched, painted some more, and I cleaned as if my hope of heaven depended on it!
On Wednesday the 20th we listed, on Thursday we had four showings, and by Friday night we were under contract with one of two competing offers!! (To see all of the photos, and Jason’s take on the news, click here.)
Now, my dears, we have until April to decide what exactly we are going to do next. Our immediate fall back plan is to get into a rental nearby. We have lots of irons in the fire and I will keep you posted as we figure things out. Posting will probably continue to be sporadic as we pack and prepare to move, and find out what to do with ourselves the way grown ups are supposed to. We are open to all possibilities, so don’t be surprised if the next thing you hear is that we’ve decided to be cat herders in Tasmania or opened a shaved ice stand in Belize! And, if you follow me on Pinterest, don’t be surprised if a good many house-y things begin to trickle in (I’m getting a touch excited about the possibility of living in more than 700 sq. ft.!). Later, Gators!
There is a whimsical, joking fear among the female community of growing up to be “the crazy cat lady”. I have a different, if equally whimsical and joking concern: I think I’m becoming the “crazy banana bread lady”! I mean, I love this stuff. Jeeze Louise Pete, there are already two recipes for banana bread on O.i.H., here and here. Where many people see a boring loaf laden with identity crisis (is bread, is it cake?), I see continual inspiration and an unexplainable comfort. Strangely enough, I don’t remember ever having banana nut bread or even acknowledging its existence until after my marriage. Jason’s grandmother graciously and rather optimistically gave me her church cookbook as a wedding gift; I did not cook at the time. On leafing through the contents of that unassuming little book, I came upon a recipe for a basic pecans and crisco kind of banana nut bread. One baking day later and I was hooked, not so much on that specific recipe, though I used it for years, but on the basic goodness of the idea. So when I opened my Google reader one morning recently, and the words “Roasted Banana” appeared before my eyes, this recipe was immediately a foregone conclusion. I don’t even know what the article in my reader was about; I walked away with my head in an aromatic cloud of sweet scheming, and the entry was buried in the ever-coming tide of new news.
If you were to say to me, “Okay, but I’m not a crazy banana bread lady, and I don’t need a dozen loaves of the stuff; which should I make?”, I would definitely say this one. It is dark, moody, spicy, sweet; imagine bluesy jazz, molasses, winter-blackened woody hollows, log fires in libraries. . .okay, I’ll stop. I’m telling you, I’m in serious danger of inventing the banana bread sommelier! Without further ado I give you. . .
Gluten-free Roasted Banana and Chocolate Chunk Banana Nut Bread
makes 2 loaves
1 cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup tapioca or potato starch
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
5-6 ripe bananas, roasted
1/4 cup buttermilk or yogurt
1/2 cup coconut or olive oil
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
4 tsp vanilla
3.5-4 oz (1 bar) 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup toasted walnuts
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and line 2 bread pans. Cut bananas in halves or rounds and arrange on pan. Roast for 20-30 minutes until bananas have caramelized or you can no longer wait. Remove parchment with bananas and place walnuts on pan; return to oven and toast nuts for roughly 10 min.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together flours, starch, b. powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon until very well combined. In a food processor, large blender, or mixer combine roasted bananas (and any juices), eggs, oil, syrup, sugar, and vanilla and blend thoroughly. Add dry ingredients and process for 30-45 seconds, or until completely combined. (As this recipe contains no gluten, you really can’t overmix!)
Returning batter to large bowl, fold in chocolate, and walnuts, and divide batter evenly between two bread pans. Bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes before lifting loaves from pans to cooling rack.
Did I say that we would be taking a much briefer look at vitamin D? HA! In my mind I thought that the more extensive research done on vitamin D (as opposed to B12) and its prevalence in medical thought of the moment would make it easier to write about. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. There is so much information that we will be taking a much less comprehensive look at vitamin D, and I will provide sources for your further research; otherwise, One is Hungry will begin to look like a medical treatise rather than a helpful, easily understood food blog!
What is vitamin D, and why on earth does it matter?
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that may be obtained in two ways. The first, and most effective, is produced cutaneously, or by the skin, after exposure to UVB radiation (the sun). The second means of obtaining vitamin D is orally, either through foods or supplements. Though there are many types of vitamin D, the two thought to be most beneficial to humans are D2, which is primarily vegetal, and D3, which is produced in the skin and can be found in some food sources. Below is a chart of the blood test numbers, and how they translate for you.
|<30||<12||Associated with vitamin D deficiency, leading to rickets in infants and children and osteomalacia in adults|
|30–50||12–20||Generally considered inadequate for bone and overall health in healthy individuals|
|≥50||≥20||Generally considered adequate for bone and overall health in healthy individuals|
|>125||>50||Emerging evidence links potential adverse effects to such high levels, particularly >150 nmol/L (>60 ng/mL)|
* Serum concentrations of 25(OH)D are reported in both nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) and nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).
** 1 nmol/L = 0.4 ng/mL
Vitamin D is widely recognized for its importance to bone health. Properly processed vitamin D is necessary to the body’s healthy absorption and use of both calcium and phosphate. In children insufficient vitamin D, and thereby calcium, can show up as rickets and improper skeletal development. In adults brittle bones are a common outcome.
What is not as widely discussed is the effect vitamin D has on our health at large. Current research links vitamin D to healthy body weight, immune function, brain development and maintenance, respiratory health, diabetes, cancer prevention, and heart health! A few studies are even linking vitamin D deficiency to chronic migraines.
Who is at risk?
Those with limited sun exposure due to inclination, culture, or climate. The sunscreen message has gotten across to the public, and as skin care routines get better, vitamin D levels get lower. In most cultures, our strict adherence to covering our bodies with clothing is a point against cutaneous vitamin D production :) . There are also geographic locations in which the amount of UVB radiation available at certain times of year is insufficient to our needs. Darker skinned ethnic groups are more susceptible to a vitamin D deficiency as the increased melanin in their skin does not allow for the same levels of vitamin D production after exposure to UVB radiation. Finally, as we age our bodies produce less vitamin D through sun exposer.
Also at risk are those with limited oral intake, and those with impaired intestinal absorption (Celiac sufferers, Crohns, and the like). Infants being breastfed by women without sufficient vitamin D stores are at great risk for vitamin D deficiency. Gastric bypass surgery patients and those following extremely low-fat diets are very likely candidates as well.
How do you treat it?
My personal choice is move to the tropics and live a life of naked, un-sunscreened happiness! However, as that is not an option for 99.99% of us, what else can be done? Limited, sun-screen free exposure to the sun was the first thing my doctor recommended. 10-20 minutes a day (depending on skin sensitivity and climate) in the summer months is ideal. For those with a strong family or personal history of skin cancer, extreme northerly and southerly climates, and winter-dwellers everywhere outside the tropics: the answer is supplements.
My fist question to my doctor was: can I try to manage this with diet? She tilted her head and said, “Sure,you can try”. According to the Mayo Clinic, her response should be interpreted as “No”. The following excerpt is from a Mayo Clinic Study published by the N.I.H.
Many patients and physicians think that adequate vitamin D intake can be obtained via diet alone. This assumption is erroneous. With the exception of fatty fish, the vitamin D content of most foods, including fortified dairy products, is relatively low to nonexistent. Even some dairy products in the United States are not fortified, making it important to read food labels to ensure the vitamin D content of foods.
The only absolutely reliable source of vitamin D that all experts seem to agree on is oral supplements. As there is an opposite risk of vitamin D toxicity, it is recommended that the average adult not take over 800 to 1000 IU/ per day. Your personal dosage is best determined with your doctor!
So, what foods have vitamin D?
This list is going to look surprisingly similar to that for B12 . Fatty fish are the number one dietary source of vitamin D. After that, meats, eggs, fortified dairy, cereals and soy products make up the remainder. The list below, like the list for the B12 entry, is from the N.I.H. In the source materials at the bottom of this article is a link to an extended food list from Self, and one from World’s Healthiest Foods.
|Food||IUs per serving*||Percent DV**|
|Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon||1,360||340|
|Swordfish, cooked, 3 ounces||566||142|
|Salmon (sockeye), cooked, 3 ounces||447||112|
|Tuna fish, canned in water, drained, 3 ounces||154||39|
|Orange juice fortified with vitamin D, 1 cup (check product labels, as amount of added vitamin D varies)||137||34|
|Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D-fortified, 1 cup||115-124||29-31|
|Yogurt, fortified with 20% of the DV for vitamin D, 6 ounces (more heavily fortified yogurts provide more of the DV)||80||20|
|Margarine, fortified, 1 tablespoon||60||15|
|Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 2 sardines||46||12|
|Liver, beef, cooked, 3 ounces||42||11|
|Egg, 1 large (vitamin D is found in yolk)||41||10|
|Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D, 0.75-1 cup (more heavily fortified cereals might provide more of the DV)||40||10|
|Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce||6||2|
* IUs = International Units.
** DV = Daily Value. DVs were developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help consumers compare the nutrient contents among products within the context of a total daily diet. The DV for vitamin D is currently set at 400 IU for adults and children age 4 and older. Food labels, however, are not required to list vitamin D content unless a food has been fortified with this nutrient. Foods providing 20% or more of the DV are considered to be high sources of a nutrient, but foods providing lower percentages of the DV also contribute to a healthful diet.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Database Web site lists the nutrient content of many foods. It also provides a comprehensive list of foods containing vitamin D. A growing number of foods are being analyzed for vitamin D content. Simpler and faster methods to measure vitamin D in foods are needed, as are food standard reference materials with certified values for vitamin D to ensure accurate measurements .
Let’s wrap it up
If you have made it this far, thanks for sticking with me. Remember that chart at the top listing vitamin D serum levels in blood, and what those levels mean? Well, 30 and below is considered deficient; I came in at 23 or 24 (I’ve lost the paper I wrote it down on :S). So, my doctor told me to get some sun, and take 1000 IU per day. She did not specify between D2 and D3, so for the moment I’ve chosen D3. I’m going to talk to her about it further at my three month check-up. It is still too early for me to say positively what effect the B12 shots and vitamin D supplements are having. For the first full month I had bronchitis; I just took my second shot a few days ago, and am on a steady routine with the supplements. My migraines have not gone away entirely, but, at the moment, I’m no longer experiencing them every day. Progress! I’m also sleeping more deeply than I can ever remember doing, but as it is winter, and I’ve been sick, I don’t know if it is the med.s or just hibernation.
Remember, if you are using this article for your own health education, it is a very broad overview. Please see the sources listed below for more information, and definitely consult your G.P.
Coming up soon we will finally be getting back to recipes (HOORAY) and a big update on the condo situation! See you soon.