Nutrition Tip: Get More Vitamin D

Instead of stocking up on Vitamin C this winter, you might want to consider taking a Vitamin D supplement instead. The latest studies show vitamin D can help prevent cancer, depression, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular disease.

How to get it: Vitamin D can come from food (think milk, salmon, fortified foods) AND it can be made by the skin when it’s exposed to ultraviolet rays (UV light).

Think your levels are low? Get tested! Ask your Doctor to test your blood for this form of Vitamin D:  25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D).  You may have a deficiency if your 25(OH) D levels fall below 25 ng/mL.

How much do you need? The current RDA is set at 400 IU/day, however, recent studies show that higher levels are needed to prevent disease and to bring low levels back up to normal. Many Doctors are now recommending 1,000 IU/day in the form of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). 

Here’s to a healthy winter!

Danielle Omar, MS, RD
The Food Confidence Expert


Can a sprinkle a day keep the doctor away? Research says YES!

Add one of these 6 SUPER SPICES to your favorites foods (or seek out recipes that include them) and enjoy a simple, yet effective, way to get healthy.

Here they are:

1. Cinnamon: 1/4 – 1/2 tsp daily can lower blood sugar, LDL, and triglycerides in those with Type 2 Diabetes. Sprinkle or mix into Greek yogurt, oatmeal, applesauce, pancakes, cottage cheese, coffee, and winter squash or sweet potatoes.

2. Nutmeg: acts as an antibacterial (think E. Coli, salmonella, listeria) also rich in vitamin and minerals. Nutmeg brings out the flavor of foods (especially my Mom’s spinach pie!) add to greens, soups, sweet potatoes, pork roast, meatballs, cauliflower, and green beans.

3. Cumin: A potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, cumin may also help stop tumor growth. Use in chili, marinades, stir fry, lentils and chick peas, cauliflower, and roasted potatoes.

4. Dried Red Pepper: the capsaicin is what makes these peppers hot and also what may lower the risk of skin and colon cancers (it may also help you eat less calories!) Add spicy red pepper to pizza, pasta, stir fry, lasagna, any chicken or meat dish.

5. Turmeric: Contains curcumin, which may stop cancer cells from spreading and help prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Use in soups and stews, curry dishes, lamb, and vegetables.

6. Ginger: Well known for it’s ability to decrease nausea, ginger can also help with bloating and heartburn. It can be eaten fresh, pickled (like with sushi), dried, ground, and crystallized. Add to stir fries, sauces and salad dressings, marinades, teas, fruit dishes, baked goods and desserts.


Yoga, Mindful Eating and Food Confidence

danielle canyon ranch
Mindfulness: the trait of staying aware in a careful deliberate manner.

Sounds simple enough, right?

We’ve all experienced it….trying to stay focused on something we’re doing but totally thinking about something else.

I really had a hard time with it on Monday, in a late afternoon yoga class. I had worked all day from home, I had my daughter with me most of the day (she’s 20 months), and I was really looking forward to the class to unwind. As a student of yoga for many years, you’d think I could just turn it all off with one step on the mat. I wish it were that easy. I still find it so hard to stay present, breath through my poses, and NOT think about my clients, my family, or what still needs to get done at home.

There are certainly times when this mind chatter comes in handy…like when you’re going for a long run and before you know it you’re back home. That’s actually pretty nice. But in yoga mindfulness is part of the practice. Being aware of your breath and actually using it to go farther in a pose or deeper in a stretch — the reward is great. You gain a feeling of accomplishment and a new confidence. This confidence allows you to go even farther in the pose the next time. Soon you are doing poses you never thought possible!

This same confidence can be achieved when it comes to food and eating. I work with women who live very hectic lives! Juggling career, family and kids, active social lives. Eating becomes something done without much thought to hunger cues, appetite, and awareness of how food makes them feel. However, just like with the practice of yoga, mindful eating – practiced consistently – will lend itself to confidence. Food confidence. And that’s what I’m all about.

Today’s tip to the ladies for creating food confidence in life is to be mindful of your thoughts. Banish the guilt, shame and otherwise negative thoughts you create around food. This practice does not serve you or manifest confidence. It’s actually counter-productive. Instead of punishing yourself afterwards, ask yourself BEFORE you eat: Is this food choice in line with my goals? Am I choosing to eat this and am I okay with it? If the answer is yes, well then enjoy it! If the answer is no, then maybe food is not really what you wanted.

Practice this consistently and you will find that you learn a lot about yourself.

This post is part of the Women’s Health Blogfest. Please read some other great tips from Women’s Health bloggers.

Angela White at Blisstree’s Breastfeeding 1-2-3 – Helpful Skills of Breastfeeding Counselors
Angie Tillman, RD, LDN, CDE – You Are Beautiful Today
Anthony J. Sepe – Women’s Health and Migraines
Ashley Colpaart – Women’s health through women
Charisse McElwaine – Spending too much time on the “throne?”
Danielle Omar – Yoga, Mindful Eating and Food Confidence
Diane Preves M.S.,R.D – Balance for Health
Joan Sather – A Woman’s Healthy Choices Affect More Than Herself
Laura Wittke – Fibro Study Recruits Participants
Liz Marr, MS, RD – Reflecting on Family Food Ways and Women’s Work
Marjorie Geiser, MBA, RD, NSCA-CPT – Healthy Women, Healthy Business: How Your Health Impacts a Powerful Business
Marsha Hudnall – Breakfast Protein Helps Light Eaters Feel Full
Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD – A Nutritionista’s Super Foods for Super Skin
Monika Woolsey, MS, RD – To effectively work with PCOS is to understand a woman’s health issues throughout her life
Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog – How breastfeeding helps you, too
Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, LD – Four Keys to Wellness, Just for Women
Renata Mangrum, MPH, RD – The busy busy woman
Robin Plotkin, RD, LD – Feeding the Appetites of the Culinary, Epicurious and Nutrition Worlds-One Bite at a Time
Sharon Solomon – Calories, longevity and do I care
Terri L Mozingo, RD, CDN & D. Milton Stokes, MPH, RD, CDN of One Source Nutrition, LLC – Crossing the Line: From Health to Hurt
Wendy Jo Peterson, RD – Watch Your Garden Grow