Ah, February. The month I hate the most.
I suppose it’s the grey, grey, grey that seems to last much more than 28 days. Limited sunshine, limited socialization, cold and grey.
At least, today the mud is frozen, and the chickens leave forked footprints in the snow instead. If it weren’t for the chickens, I dare say I wouldn’t venture outside at all.
But I do go outside, force myself outside when the sun shines. It’s the Vitamin D you know. The Vitamin we get from sunlight. Vitamin D is synthesized by the skin when we’re exposed to sunlight. Especially this time of year, we need 10 minutes in the sunshine every day.
The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). This decrease in sunlight can disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
But even though I take Vitamin D supplements, and force myself outdoors when the sun shines, I still hate February.
And I’m not alone. If you google “I hate February,” you’ll get about 162,000,000 results. Dish Magazine has a piece, “5 Reasons Women Hate February.” The Guardian has ten reasons why we hate February. Thousands and thousands of people hate this month; I am only one among them.
This year I’m wondering if I can plan a “high in Vitamin D” menu for the month. So what are the foods highest in Vitamin D?
Well, let’s see. Number one on the list at healthaliciousness.com is cod liver oil. Yummy. Cod liver oil soup, cod liver oil marinade? Yuk.
Number two is oily fish like trout, salmon, swordfish. Salmon, I can deal with. We’ll put salmon on the menu – perhaps once a week.
Third on the list? Portabello mushrooms. Mmmmm. Stuffed, with cream cheese and crab meat and parsley and… Oh, yeah. Add that to the menu. (Note to self: white mushrooms have almost NO Vitamin D.)
Fourth: Whole grain cereals. Now, at this point, they start naming cereals – many of which are so full of preservatives and chemicals that I am not inclined to name any of them. Let’s just stick with our oatmeal and granola, shall we?
Fifth: Tofu. Yeah, Frank will never go for that.
Sixth? Caviar. Can you even buy caviar in Central West Virginia?
Seventh: Ah, Dairy. Butter, Buttermilk, low-fat yogurt. I’m thinking yogurt for breakfast and snacks, and maybe a cup of warm buttermilk in the evenings.
Eighth: They list pork. At this point I wonder… Really? Pork? I’m pretty confident my home made tomato soup would beat pork for Vitamin D content. At this point, I’m checking to see if the web site is sponsored by the Pork Board. But, pork is a good item for the menu. I’ll make it with portabello muhsrooms.
Ninth: Hard boiled eggs, or eggs in any fashion. We have plenty of chicken eggs around here, so that’s no problem. But they say goose eggs are the highest in Vitamin D content. We have Canadian geese often in the yard too, but they’re nasty and mean and haven’t yet laid their eggs this year.
Tenth: Dairy alternatives, including Soy milk, soy yogurt and almond milk. I admit, I’ve never tried soy milk or almond milk. I’m reluctant to try soy-anything, simply because of the level of GMO soy crops in our country. Almond milk, I have heard, is pretty good. Maybe I’ll try it.
Meh. I’m not too thrilled with options for this menu. Salmon, eggs, portabellos, yogurt. At least there’s something on the list I can work with.
There was sunlight yesterday, but it doesn’t look like it will shine much today. Another rain/mix/snow system is moving in, but with his record of predictions, Punxatawny Phil will see his shadow tomorrow regardless. I hate that groundhog. He predicts a long winter far too often.
Perhaps we should put HIM on the menu. I wonder how much Vitamin D is in groundhog meat?
I’ve been making my own tinctures this year. I have taken tinctures off and on for almost ten years now, but have never made my own before. This winter, I invested in some lovely amber and blue bottles, and when the spirit strikes me, I’ll work up a batch in the kitchen in get it stored in the closet under the stairs.
Over time, I’ve bookmarked and collected several articles and columns on herbs, herbal teas and herbal tinctures. I was thrilled when we were given permission to reprint the following column from Frugal Homesteading:
Heartburn. Upset stomach. Don’t go to the medicine cabinet. Go to your kitchen herb collection or your flower bed. Ginger, peppermint and chamomile are three reliable treatments to calm stomach distress.
Soothing Tea for Heartburn:
1 cup water
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon dried chamomile flowers
1 tablespoon honey
Bring the water to a boil. Add the ginger and boil 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the chamomile. Cover and steep 10 minutes. Stir in the honey and sip slowly.
Calming Tea for Indigestion:
1 cup boiling water
1teaspoon dried peppermint
1 teaspoon dried chamomile
Pour the boiling water over the herbs. Cover and steep ten minutes. Strain into a cup. Sip up to three cups a day.
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When spring arrives each year, I am reminded of the following column Sue Cosgrove wrote for Two-Lane Livin’ in 2007. Sue was the person who lit my interest in herbal tinctures and remedies in 2005, when she handed me a bottle of pulmonaria tincture to heal my pleurisy. Had she done that BEFORE I went to the hospital for traditional treatment (x-rays and tylenol 3), I could have saved over $300.
Well, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to treat insect bites and stings this season. Very likely, you have your remedies already in your house or growing in your yard: