Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Healthy Does of Sunshine

Funny how I looked over my blog this morning and it's fairly filled with CHOCOLATE! (Nothing wrong with that - just pointing it out.)

Though cocoa is a BEAN (legumes are healthy, right?) and offers a plentitude of health benefits when enjoyed appropriately, I thought that sharing this article might offer some balance to the site, or at least some interesting sunshine know-how.

Take a gander... Hope you find it helpful and yourself in warm rays today.

Best of health,


Let Sun Shine... on Your Diet?
by August Johnson McLaughlin, CN, CPT
(first appeared at

What does sun have to do with it? It’s not a food or drink (not that I’d recommend anyone try downing an 11,000 degree treat) and most stories involving matters of health and sunshine also contain the word cancer – causing, not prevention. But there actually are mega-benefits to sunshine, beyond the happy, colorful glow it sheds on the universe and daunting harmful side effects that yes, we should be aware of and avoid.

For now, let’s focus on the positive. Sunshine promotes the creation of Vitamin D in our bodies. We need Vitamin D in order to absorb calcium, which promotes positive bone health and prevents osteoporosis. It’s also been associated with reduced risk for multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure and certain forms of (oops, I have to mention it) the C-word…cancer. Five to thirty minutes of sunshine is needed to attain your daily does of Vitamin D.

Second and equally important are the emotional perks of sunshine. People who experience warmth and step outdoors to enjoy sunshine and fresh air each day tend to maintain positive attitudes, as well as improved physical health. The more contented we feel, the more likely we are to take care of our bodies by nurturing them with healthy vittles than to eat too little or too many foods that don’t offer much nutritional value.

If you live in climate that offers few sunny rays, a Vitamin D supplement or UV lamp may prove beneficial. If you work indoors and seldom seek fresh air, make it a point to take walks around the neighborhood. Enjoy your lunch breaks at area parks or take hiking or beach trips over weekends and holidays.

If you aren’t sure if you’re getting enough Vitamin D or sunshine, ask a healthcare professional. In the meantime a solid, basic multi-vitamin is a great idea. Even when we eat healthy foods and soak in the sun appropriately, we may have gaps. Multi-vitamins are great insurance policies that can fill them.
Vitamin D is currently the top vitamin deficiency in America, so take this seriously if you feel you may be at risk. A friend of mine was recently prescribed Vitamin D supplements and is now experiencing a “happiness she can’t explain.” Our bodies are complex and sometimes we don’t even know we are lacking in something.

Enjoy the summer, wear sun block, take your vitamins and find fun, healthy summer foods to dine on. You’ll be happier and likely healthier as a result!

Emergency Chocolate Cake! (A Healthy Recipe for 2...)

Who doesn't have the occasional chocolate craving? (BESIDES aliens...)

Chocolate cake is a popular comfort food and for good reason. This cake is an awesome treat when the choco-cravings hit and you'd prefer to feed your sweet tooth healthfully. You can make and enjoy this within a matter of minutes without fear or danger of 10 more servings staring at you from the kitchen for the rest of the night!


4 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
4 Tablespoons Splenda or stevia blend
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons low-fat or soymilk
3 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
splash of pure vanilla extract

Berries and/or vanilla frozen yogurt (opt.)


Combine flour, Splenda or stevia, cocoa and cinnamon in a large, microwave-safe mug. Add egg, milk, oil and vanilla and stir until well-blended. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.** (It will rise up over the top of the mug -- that's normal!) Let cake stand for 1 -2 additional minutes then remove from microwave and top with a scoop of your favorite frozen yogurt and berries, as desired. ENJOY!

**Important note: Microwaves do not change the chemical compounds in food, so it's as safe as cooking in an oven from the ingredients perspective. However, the same precautions should be used in microwave cooking as in conventional cooking. Make sure that your eggs, poultry, meat and fish products are fresh and fully cooked to 165 degrees F. You can determine this simply by inserting a food thermometer into the food at several places to ensure it's cooked through. Particularly if you have a low watt/low voltage microwave, a food thermometer is recommended. For more information, visit Canada Health or