D-Lightful Facts

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of today’s focus on the earth, I thought I’d provide some information on Vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin” that I learned from today’s conference:

  • Vitamin D was traditionally just thought of for bone health and preventing osteoporosis.
    • New research shows it can help prevent much more than bone disease: diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer
  • Don’t count on getting enough vitamin D from your diet. Other than fortified milk/orange juice, your only real food options are wild salmon and mushrooms
    • Yay for mushrooms finally being recognized as a nutritional powerhouse!
    • Farmed salmon has practically no D, so choose wild (but know that you’d have to eat a serving everyday to get enough vitamin D)
  • Ask your doctor to check your level. And make sure they check 25(OH)D, not 1,25(OH)2D (- that’s the active form of D but won’t show whether you’re deficient). You’re aiming for a level greater than 30-50 ng/ml. (I just looked up in my records and saw that mine was 44 last winter, so that’s awesome news for such a sun-phobic person as myself)
  • Being a fat soluble vitamin, vitamin D often gets “stuck” in the excessive fat cells of obese people, meaning there’s less out there circulating in the blood. Therefore, obese people need 2-3 times as much vitamin D on a daily basis!
  • Do you live north of Atlanta? If so, you ain’t makin’ any Vitamin D during the winter months (November-February).
    • Oh, and during the spring/summer/fall months, when our skin is synthesizing D from the sun, it’s only during 10-3pm. So your morning/evening run isn’t helping you out (at least not related to vitamin D).
  • And yes, sunscreen is your enemy in the world of vitamin D. Even little old SPF 30 blocks 99% of vitamin D synthesis. Windows also block the synthesis (so you don’t make any D on those long road trips)
  • Pertinent to my mental health patients – vitamin D deficiency is also correlated with schizophrenia and depression. An interesting area I should look more into!

Happy Earth Day!


Mission Possible: Trailer Dogs

I got an email this afternoon from the Border Collie Rescue of East Tennessee, asking if I could check out a dog in my area as a potential rescue. Apparently someone called the group saying that their friend had gone to jail and they needed to find her dog a home.

I showed up in the trailer community surrounded by wandering animals and trash bags, slightly out of my comfort zone, but ended up meeting the sweetest dog! Her name is “Wander” (crazy name I know, maybe re-namable to Wanda??) who the current owners think is 15 months old. An adorable girl, very well-behaved with dogs, cats and humans of all ages, house-trained and very smart. Apparently there was a dairy farm across the street that had border collies, so I think she is a pure bred!

Her owner, after leaving for jail, had just asked her friends to go home and let the dogs loose, but they didn’t have the heart to let anything happen to her on their conscience (thank god!), so they’ve taken her in (with their 5 other animals!) until they could find her a forever home.

We’re hoping to get her into foster care ASAP, and I’m sure she’ll be on the website soon. Can’t wait to see how things shape up for her! And of course, Bess is still here… no one has inquired about her in a while :(

Here are some pictures of Miss Wander :)





Tonight’s Dinner Recipe:  butternut squash casserole 

I have the butternut roasting in the oven as we speak. Smells so good! I remember making this dish when my mom was here before Christmas and it was excellent!


Nutrition Bite of the Day: Did you know mushrooms are the only fruit/veggie to naturally contain vitamin D? Just another reason to love those fungi :)

A post for the nerds

I finished my high-school teaching today. There seems to be a big difference between first and second block kids, and third and fourth block kids. I guess they woke up :(

My two classes weren’t nearly as fun to teach today. The kids talked non-stop and didn’t even allow me to finish my presentation in the 90 minute blocks! I mean, I appreciate their questions, but sometimes they were just talking for the sake of talking, and we all know I’m not the best disciplinarian (basically one of the top reasons I didn’t go into teaching).

Best parts of my teaching today?

Scenario one:

Me “Who knows why fat is important in our diet? Why do we need to eat fat??”

Student “It’s important for our phospho-lipid bilayers”

Oh nerds, bless them. That was me 6 years ago :)

Scenario two:

After class, a girl came up to me and shared that she was a member of the local TOPS chapter (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly) and was interesting in getting one of my little fast-food nutrition info booklets. The one I brought to show them was small and pocket-sized, and I had gotten it free at work. I feel like such a jerk for not just giving it to her.. it’s not like I use it very much. But instead I just told her to look them up online and find where to order them. Elizabeth!!

Nerds in the kitchen…


Aren’t these gel electrophoresis cookies great! I put them here in honor of my sister, who just secured a research assistant position making the gels for a graduate student who’s studying why some monkeys are colorblind and others aren’t. There’s lots of monkey DNA to be analyzed!

Not to brag, but back in the day (high school nerd alert, again) I was quite the master of electrophoresing. I won “best technique” at the science fair :)

Non-Nerd News…

Sheff has been out in the backyard, staring at some type of animal in the back field that I can only tell is either a groundhog or an armadillo. Interesting.

We’re all packing up and getting ready for my big birthday weekend in Athens, GA! The dogs are going to the nearby doggie hotel, and I’ll be driving solo (finally a break from hours of dog breath! haha)

Please excuse the ranting…

This afternoon has not been very good so far…

After all my phone calls and emails, I finally heard back from the job that I so desperately wanted (and foolishly thought was perfect). A simple email to the effect of “thank you for the email. the position has been filled.” lovely. Thank you so much. I really loved interviewing with you 11 days ago and never hearing a word back, despite your promise to keep me updated on the progress. Ugh. Thankfully, my friend and fellow unemployed dietitian called me a little while ago and we vented together about how frustrating this job search is in this horrible economy.

And not only that… but then I turn on Oprah (which I never watch, but today’s episode was on childhood/teen obesity, so of course I left it on). Big mistake. Should’ve just turned it off. Because I ended up yelling at the TV the entire hour. Can someone please tell me why someone as influential as Oprah Winfrey does not have the sense to bring on a Registered Dietitian to give nutrition advice?!? No, let’s bring Dr. Oz and David Zinczenko (author of the annoyingly famous Eat This Not That series). Because obviously, a surgeon and magazine editor know so much more about nutrition, and what these kids need to be eating than an RD might. Ugh. Seriously, I want to write a letter to Oprah and ask her what she was thinking. I mean, really, how are we RDs ever going to be given credit for what we do/know, when everyone gets their nutrition advice from (almost anyone) else?!

OK, that’s all the venting I’m going to put you through today. Looks like it’ll be back to square one for me on the job search. I’ve applied to 2 today (and already been rejected by 1…) and found another promising one to look into tomorrow (will require an eloquently written cover letter).

Oh I hope tomorrow will be a better day.

But a look to the brighter side: making yummy ranch potatoes for dinner tonight, to go along with my Gardenburger Chicken Patty, and some zucchini (haven’t figured out method of preparation on that one yet).