Posts

7 signs deficient vitamin d sunshine paleo network

7 Signs You’re Deficient in Vitamin D

Do you get enough Vitamin D? Luckily we seem to be coming out of the sun-fearing era slightly, but even so, with so many of us in office jobs, it can be really hard to get enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D Deficiency 7 Signs Symptoms Sun Exposure Paleo Network

Whilst some foods are fortified with vitamin D, they aren’t natural whole foods-and even so, the amount they provide is tiny compared to the levels you can get naturally, from the sun.

There’s no substitute for getting regular blood tests to find out exactly where your vitamin D levels are sitting, but did you know certain symptoms may indicate a deficiency?

How’s your mood?

Sunlight boosts serotonin levels, which are associated with our mood. If you’re feeling inexplicably blue, vitamin D is definitely worth investigating.

You have darker skin

The darker your skin, the more sun exposure you’ll need to get sufficient vitamin D levels.  This means if you have darker skin and live further from the equator – or spend a lot of time indoors, you’re more likely to be deficient

You’re in pain

If you have bone or muscle pain, this could also point to low vitamin D levels. In fact, most muscle weakness appears to be linked to low levels of vitamin D.

You’re tired

If you’re generally feeling fatigued, this could be because you don’t have enough of the vitamin D required for its role in energy production.

Respiratory issues

Another potential symptom is chronic respiratory problems such as asthma – it’s been observed that higher vitamin D levels can decrease the severity of asthma attacks.

You’re overweight

Being overweight means you need move vitamin D in your system, since its fat soluble – whilst decreased levels also make it harder to lose weight.

You get every infection and bug going around

Vitamin D plays an important role in your immune system – so if you’re catching one thing after another, get those levels checked!

When did you last get your levels checked? Were you deficient?

 

Five Ways to Eat Your Sunscreen paleo natural SPF UV rays vitamin D-min

Five Ways to Eat Your Sunscreen

Despite what conventional wisdom would have you believe, it is not in any way a bad thing to spend plenty of time in the sunshine – provided you don’t burn. On the contrary, it is essential to good health; it is the best (and only significant) source of Vitamin D, it ramps up serotonin (the ‘happy’ hormone), and boosts your energy and your immune system. With sunshine being so crucial to a happy and healthy life, it therefore makes no sense to stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm when you could be outside enjoying nature. It is important to protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet ways – but there are certainly alternatives to the chemically laden, commercial sunscreens found at your local pharmacy.

Eat your sunscreen

Food is a powerful healer, and it turns out that certain foods protect you from the sun from the inside out by boosting your skin’s natural protection against harmful UV rays. If you burn easily, try boosting your intake of the following foods:

Brightly coloured vegetables – Brightly coloured vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and capsicum (bell peppers) should be a significant part of your diet already; but if they are not, consider increasing your consumption. These vegetables in particular are a rich source of beta carotene, which has been proven to reduce sun sensitivity and sunburn intensity.

Leafy Greens – dark, leafy green vegetables like spinach, chard and broccoli all contain high levels of the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which protect the skin against free radical damage from UV rays.

Oily Fish – foods rich in omega 3, like mackerel, salmon and trout, are proven to guard against sunburn. If you’re not the biggest lover of fish, I’d strongly encourage you to take a high quality Omega 3 supplement. A healthy Omega 3: Omega 6 ratio has also proven to significantly reduce the risk of cancer.

Green tea – packed with antioxidants called EGCG’s which dramatically reduce the genetic mutations causes to skin cells by UV radiation. Try drinking Macha for an even more potent dose of these antioxidants.

Five Ways to Eat Your Sunscreen paleo natural SPF UV rays vitamin D-min

Natural Sun Screen

If I’m expecting to be out in the sun for an extended period of time, to further reduce my risk of burning I will often make my own sunscreen from entirely natural ingredients. It’s easy to make, is nourishing for the skin, and you’ll smell way better than anyone else at the beach! Try the following recipe to naturally protect yourself from the sun.

1 ounce raspberry seed oil – this oil, which can be found in health food and even cook shops, has a natural SPF of approximately 30

1 ounce coconut oil – not only is it nourishing and intensely moisturising, virgin coconut oil contains an SPF of approximately 10.

2 ounces shea butter – nourishes and moisturises, and protects the skin against free radicals.

2 ounces of beeswax – emulsifies, and is naturally waterproof!

15 grams Zinc Oxide – helps to reflect the harmful UVA and UVB rays

20 drops of your favourite essential oil, such as lemon grass or ginger

In order to maintain a healthy level of tolerance to the sun, it is important that you expose yourself to it frequently (and ideally, for short periods of time.) Take your lunch outside, go on long weekend walks, or take up an outdoor sport if you have the time.

What steps do you take to enjoy the sun without burning? Have you found any effective sunscreens, without all of the chemicals?

Can you live on just light breatharianism circadian rhythm meditation paleo diet natural-min

Can You Live On Just Light?

I read recently about a woman, Naveena Shine, 65, from Seattle, who was planning to go for six months without eating, existing solely on “nutrition” from the sun; Sungazing. She installed video cameras in her house, with live streaming, to prove that she wasn’t cheating. After losing a lot of weight, she stopped after 47 days, as she feared she was encouraging others to copy her – without having the resources in place to do so safely.

Looking into sungazing and breatharianism, there are a lot of people around the World, who genuinely believe it is possible to live – and nourish your body – without eating.

Can you live on just light breatharianism circadian rhythm meditation paleo diet natural-min

What is Sungazing?

The idea behind sungazing is to gain increased energy, more awareness, and clearer thinking. It is a practice where you take a few minutes out of your day and focus on the rising or setting sun. As the sun is so crucial for our circadian rhythms – which are crucial for so many functions, this seems quite in line with a Paleo lifestyle. Who wouldn’t benefit from getting away from artificial lighting and getting some natural sunlight. Sungazing actually involves doing just that – gazing directly at the sun – which is why it is so controversial. A lot of people, understandably, say this can cause serious long term damage to your eyes. Sungazers start off slowly focusing on the sun for a few seconds at sunrise and sunset initially (rather than when the sun is at it’s strongest at midday). Gradually they increase this time, until after a few months they are focusing on the sun for several minutes at a time.

Whilst focusing on the sun, sungazers practice meditation.

Looking directly into the sun does not seem like a remotely good idea – but being in the sun – and connecting with the Earth at sunrise and sunset must be a good thing. Not only does being in the sun give a Vitamin D boost (and at a far safer time of day, as the sun is not so strong), it is a great way to reset your body clock. I’d also speculate this would significantly help transform sleep patterns.

As for the not eating part, I can’t see any benefit in that. Whilst an occasional intermittent fast seems to be beneficial – going without food for long periods of time, can’t be a good thing.

I’d love to hear what you think about Sungazing. Completely ridiculous, or is there an element of truth in it? Leave your comments, below.

Paleo Diet Primal living in a permanent summer September equinox-min

Living in a Permanent Summer

Today is the September equinox, where the sun is directly over the equator, meaning the length of day and night is equal; 12 hours each – and the seasons on either side of the world are the exact opposite.

In Australia and the Southern hemisphere it is the Spring equinox – and in the Northern hemisphere today represents the Autumn (or fall) equinox.

This seems like a timely reminder about the importance of our natural our circadian rhythms and the seasons. Time and seasonality are so important for so many health reasons, yet in the modern world it is all too easy to live a 24 hour life and barely notice the season.

Seasonality

By being aware of the changing length of day and intensity of the sun our bodies know what season it is. When our ancestors lived they would have experienced a far greater availability of food in the summer months. Fruit and vegetables would have only been in season for relatively short periods of time, so they would have been likely to consume as much as they could, when they could. This would have been converted to sugar and stored as fat, for sustenance during the harsher winter months. Today there is barely a week in the year, when almost all types of fruit and vegetables are not available. It makes sense that eating as though it’s summer all year round might not be the best idea biologically, don’t you think?

In terms of Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, our ancestors would have been outside most of the time. This would have given them far better levels of Vitamin D than we have today, thanks to our indoor, sun-fearing lifestyles.

Paleo Diet Primal living in a permanent summer September equinox-min

Day and Night

Another big problem with our modern lifestyles, is our bodies not getting the correct signals of day and night. Our ancestors would have had no artificial exposure to the blue light we are now inundated with. Without blue light melatonin, the sleep hormone, is produced when the sun goes down. This triggers sleep. When the sun comes up, melatonin production halts rendering us alert and awake. With artificial lighting, TV and computers in the evening giving out as much blue light as sunlight, it is little wonder so many people struggle to sleep – and struggle to wake up in the morning.

I’d love to hear your comments about seasonality and day and night. Do you live in an artificial summer all year round?

Happy equinox!

11 Things You Should Give Up To Be Paleo diet follow list-min

11 Things You Should Give Up To Be Paleo

Ok, so obviously grains, legumes and perhaps dairy are no longer on the agenda – but what else should you give up as you embrace a healthy Paleo lifestyle?

1. Marking Every Event With Food

Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day – it’s all become about the food! Whenever there is a celebration of any sort it is so often marked with food – and it’s very rarely grass-fed beef jerky, omega-3 enriched eggs and avocados. Instead of taking in birthday cakes to the office – how about marking your birthday with an impromptu office trip to the park or a social event?

2. Relying on Everything But Your Own Two Feet

So you’ve got a car and a bus pass? That doesn’t mean you should use them all the time. We’re supposed to walk, it’s good to walk; find a way to incorporate it into your day!

3. Trying to Please

When all of your friends eat differently, it’s easy to feel alienated in your Paleo diet. They might suggest a pizza restaurant – or cook a non Paleo dinner for you. In the short-term the easy option is to eat the food and avoid the risk of offending them. But it’s time to think long-term; this is how you want to eat; this is important to you – so be strong and stick to your principles! Who knows, they might even respect you for it.

4. Unrealistic Expectations

If you’ve come to Paleo looking to lose 15kg in two weeks, think again! Paleo is not a diet, but something to follow for life. It might take a while to achieve the results you seek, but give it time and they will come.

5. Your Doctor?

If your doctor is more interested in treating your symptoms with drugs, rather than finding out the underlying issue; perhaps it’s time to look for a new doctor?

6. The Past

Perhaps you used to struggle with making good food choices, or you used to make pancakes every weekend. Just because you used to do things, maybe now is the time to let go of the past and make some changes!

7. Fears

Whether you have an irrational fear of fat lingering from your conventional wisdom, low-fat days; or a fear of getting ill – there’s no room or purpose for that fear anymore, besides positivity is far more constructive.

11 Things You Should Give Up To Be Paleo diet follow list-min

8. Excuses

It’s too easy to blame a hectic travelling schedule, long working hours or bad finances for making poor nutrition and fitness choices. If you want to make it happen, you can make it happen – drop the excuses!

9. The Middle of the Grocery Store

Unless you enjoy studying packets of junk food, to see how many ingredients you can’t pronounce – it’s time to give up the middle of the supermarket. Everything you need will be on the perimeter – or better still, outside at farmers markets!

10. Avoiding Sunshine

Another phobia it’s time to let go of! Whilst it’s not good to burn, getting some sunshine and making your own Vitamin D is a good thing!

11. Your Shock Absorbing Running Shoes with Nano Technology

How did our ancestors manage without them? Have you tried running barefoot?

What have I missed from the list? What else should you let go of as you embrace a healthy Paleo lifestyle?

Vvitamin D solution australian book review sun

The Vitamin D Solution

I don’t wear sunscreen.  This is to the absolute horror of pretty much everyone I know.  Especially as I’m a fairly pale Brit who has moved to a considerably sunnier Australia.

I’ve been having my Vitamin D levels tested for the last year or so, and despite living in Australia – I am still not at an optimal level.  By the official standards, I’m certainly not deficient – but I want to attain an optimal, not survival, level of Vitamin D.

I’ve read a lot of books on Vitamin D, but sadly most of them are aimed at an American or British reader.  Australia covers such a vast area with significantly different latitudes – we therefore have very different sun considerations.  I’ve just got a copy of “The Vitamin D Solution” by Michael F. Holick Ph.D. M.D. and was thrilled to see it is an Australian edition.  The book contains tables identifying the latitude of all of the main areas in Australia and the equivalent safe and effective sun exposure requirements to attain sufficient Vitamin D production.  These tables are further split by skin type (with fairer skin requiring less sun than darker skin types), by time of day and then by season.

Vvitamin D solution australian book review sun

 

Most of my sun exposure occurs in the morning and evening on my commute.  Having read the tables I’m quite happy that I am not getting too much sun.  In fact, I’m going to wear shorts and shorter sleeves to further increase the amount of vitamin D I can produce in the mornings and evenings.

When I’ve had enough sun, I simply cover up, or get out of the sun – I much prefer these options to covering my skin in sunscreen.  There are rare occasions when it’s not so easy to avoid the sun, particularly on my face – this is the only time I wear sunscreen, as I realise burning is to be avoided at all costs.  When I do wear sunscreen, I’m really careful which one I use as many of them contain chemicals I wouldn’t want anywhere near my skin.  I also have some really good quality Vitamin D3 supplements that I take occasionally, particularly if I know I haven’t had much sun.  Hopefully these approaches will ensure I can increase my Vitamin D result the next time I have it tested.

What’s your Vitamin D/ Sunscreen approach?

Giving the Paleo Treatment to Sunglasses blue light natural health eyes sight vision sun glasses-min

Seeing Things in a Whole New Light – Giving the Paleo Treatment to Sunglasses

During the three years I’ve lived in Australia, I’ve spent a lot of time wearing Sunglasses (or, as they’re more commonly known in Australia, Sunnies).  Even in the winter here, it’s often very bright and sunny (even if the air is cool).  In the summer, it gets really bright and sunny.  Sunglasses – well, that’s what they’re for isn’t it, wearing in the sunshine?

Sunglasses paleo treatment-min

The more I’ve found out about Paleo, the more I question other aspects of my life, sunglasses being one such example.

Whilst early examples of sunglasses have been seen as far back at the 12th century, they didn’t become common until the early 1900’s.  That’s not even five generations ago.  Whilst correlation is certainly not causation, it is interesting to note that 25-35% of people of a European descent have Myopia (short sightedness) today, whereas a study of hunter gather tribes revealed Myopia in just 0.4% of the population (1) As well as diet, could widespread use of sunglasses be responsible for the widespread decline in eyesight?

Some estimates suggest Indigenous Australians have been here for up to 70,000 years, surviving for 69,900 without needing sunglasses?  Why are they now they essential for optical health?

Sunlight entering the eyes takes two courses – one for vision, the other goes to the hypothalamus gland.  This pathway seems to have a crucial role in the body clock, energy and hormone production (including melatonin).  It would make sense for the body to use this pathway to regulate circadian rhythms.  Circadian rhythms ensure sleep and wake cycles occur properly, and that the body is in tune with seasonality.  Therefore doesn’t it stands to reason that wearing sunglasses, and reducing the sunlight entering your eyes, will impact these functions?

This would tie in with anecdotal observations I’ve heard that when not wearing sunglasses, people get less sunburnt, then when they do wear sunglasses.  Perhaps wearing sunglasses also leads to people staying out in the sun for longer than they would without sunglasses?

In the spirit of n=1 self experimentation, I’m going to wean off the sunglasses this summer and see what (if any) impact it has on me.  Will my new found improvements in my sleeping patterns improve further still?  Will my eyesight improve?

I’ll report back in a future post any differences I’ve noticed.

Do you wear sunglasses?  Do you think it is foolish not to wear sunglasses throughout the Australian Summer?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, below!

Giving the Paleo Treatment to Sunglasses blue light natural health eyes sight vision sun glasses-min