Winter

The Sunshine Vitamin

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Did you know that 40-60% of the US population is deficient in the beneficial (and crucial) vitamin D, otherwise known as “The Sunshine Vitamin”?

This is especially true for those living in a northern region and because it is extremely rare in foods, it's nearly impossible to get all of our needs from food alone.

What is it and why are we deficient?

Simply put, Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced by the body in response to sunlight exposure on the skin. However, in order for our bodies to convert the cholesterol in our skin to Vitamin D, we need UVB exposure, which is typically what we are trying to avoid when we lather ourselves up with sunscreen.

When we apply an SPF of 8+ or higher, the amount of Vitamin D that can be made by the body decreases by about 95%, which is great for skin cancer prevention, but not for your Vitamin D requirements – or your overall health and well being. If you think you’re getting your daily dose when sitting in a sunny window at work or driving down the highway, think again. Window glass blocks essentially all UVB rays preventing the skin’s absorption.

Do you have darker skin AND live in a northern region (think: north of an imaginary border from Northern California to Boston)? You have higher levels of melanin in your skin which makes your skin better at screening out most of the already limited sunlight you’re exposed to for those 4-6 months out of the year.

And if getting older wasn't enough already, as we age, our body’s ability to produce Vitamin D is reduced by 75%. 

If you're a plant-based eater, have malabsorption issues, or have Crohn’s or Celiac disease, you’re at higher risk for deficiency as well.

Pregnant or trying to conceive? It's highly recommended you take additional supplementation to support both you and your baby during this time. Most prenatal vitamins contain 400 IU and studies have shown taking an additional 4,000 IU daily had the greatest benefit for preventing pre-term labor and infections.

Low levels in the body are associated with:

  • Increased risk of cancers

  • Development of diabetes

  • Decreased immunity

  • Elevated blood pressure

  • Neurological disorders

  • Increased symptoms of anxiety and depression

The take-away? We all need Vitamin D supplementation!

Food vs. Sun vs. Supplements

Vitamin D is extremely rare in foods and the likelihood that you’re getting in enough daily from food alone is pretty low. Some good sources include fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, fish liver oils such as cod liver oil, mushrooms, whole raw milk products, and eggs so begin making an effort to eat more Vitamin D-rich foods.

Additionally, attempt to get at least 15 minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen), 2-3 times per week.

However, the easiest way to ensure adequate amounts in our system is through simple supplementation and it's one of top recommendations for everyone. 

How much do you need?

The official recommendation for supplementation is only 400 IU but this is purely to prevent deficiency, not for optimal health. The recommended intake to maintain OPTIMAL and HEALTHY levels in the body (which is what we strive for, right?) is approximately 4,000 IU (from sun, food, and supplementation). That's a big difference! And if you’ve been deficient recently and are trying to regulate your stores, you might require up to 5,000/day for 6-12 weeks afterwards.

My go to D supplement is Thorne liquid D. It has 1,000 IU in 2 drops so you can adjust for your own personal requirements. 

Example:

  • Pregnant or trying to conceive and taking a prenatal that has 400 IU, add an additional 6 drops (3,000 IU) of Liquid D

  • Northern regions and darker skin: Take 4,000-5000 IU in winter months and 2,000 IU in sunny months

  • Aging population 5,000 IU

*I recommend discussing your personal vitamin D status and supplementation needs with your physician, nutritionist, or dietitian before considering a vitamin D supplement. 

And in regards to sun exposure, I am not recommending you avoid sunscreen, but balance your exposure with/without protection so you absorb your D needs while still preventing your risk of developing skin cancer.

If you're unsure of your personal needs, feel free to reach out!

Happy sunning!

I WANT TO GIVE YOU MORE

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Here we are in the second week of 2018. While most people take the holidays to reflect on the past year and put their intentions and resolutions out there on January 1st, I needed some extra time this year. Time to really think about what you want from me, how I can help you, what's been holding me back from giving it to you, and how to actually make it all happen moving forward. So if you want to get right to it, scroll down to THE TAKEAWAY. Or if you want to read the brief emo/reflective side of Kirsten, read on.

REFLECTION:

On a personal note, this past year did not pass by without challenge, questioning moments, or deep heartache, but it was also filled with SO much gratitude, excitement, growth, love, adventure, and motivation. All of you, and the experiences, conversations, frustrations, opportunities, hurdles, and moments in between the moments that have filled the last 12 months have been nothing short of strengthening and heart opening.

On a professional note, I have to admit, when I left Los Angeles 3 years ago, I had this underlying feeling that maybe leaving wasn't the best choice for my career, but thank you, Seattle, you proved me wrong in 2017. 

Now for 2018, I want to give you more.

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MY REQUEST FOR YOU:

As you look back on 2017, I challenge you to reflect on the things you’re proud of, the moments you felt powerful and strong in your body and your mind, and also those moments that have taken you to your knees and made you vulnerably human. Because being human and striking a balance is what it’s all about.

Life is going to happen. And along with all of life's greatest moments, you're going to have the not-so-great ones that throw you off track, or maybe even prevent you from getting on track in the first place. You'll get sick, your kids will get sick, burnout will happen, you won't have enough time, you'll will eat that cake that you think you shouldn't eat (but I want to tell you why you should) and you're sometimes going to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders.

So the question is, moving forward, how do you work around and through "real life" and stay on track with your health?

THE TAKEAWAY:

Here's what I'm getting at. I chose this path years ago for the same reasons I have today. I want to help you, support you and guide you so you don't feel alone on this journey of figuring out what works for you and what will help you accomplish your goals amidst the chaos. I want to help you figure out where to start, how to continue, and help you live a healthy and balanced life. 

And that means more from me in new ways.

My priority for 2018 is to help you feel even more in control of your health and body, optimize what you're doing, help you understand the how and why so those adjustments you're making stick, and simplify it all. 

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I want you feel you have a resource to the thousands of opinions out there on health and wellness. Because let's face it, there are more than thousands, there are a bagillion, and it can be really effing confusing!

As most of you know, RWF isn’t focused on any one particular style of fitness, nutrition or lifestyle. It’s not about gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30, keto, crossfit, HIIT training, yoga, or any other wellness trend (but those all have their place and they all work for different reasons and different goals).

RWF is about taking you, and where you're at, along with your health history, personal struggles, experience, and the real life that surrounds you daily, and building a solution that works for YOUR body, and YOUR life, right now.

WHAT I NEED FROM YOU:

SO, in 2018, What can I do to help you be your best this year? 

I want to help you through better services, tools, more communication, less communication, whatever your schedule and heart desire. So tell me what you need and want from me.

Here’s to good health, happiness and being more human in 2018,

xx Kirsten

Holidays - Should You Workout or Take a Break?

Holidays - Should You Workout or Take a Break?

Traveling for the holidays?? Hotel room, the in-laws, friendsgiving airbnb...the holidays don't have to mean your fitness takes a down turn!

Pack shorts and a tee (or those black leggings you know you’re going to wear anyway), and sneak in a quick 20-minute bodyweight workout. It can make a huge difference in your energy and prevent that dreaded feeling you know you're going to have when everything just…feels...so...hard...in your workout next week.

That “use it or lose it” principle you hear about, is actually a thing (sigh). It’s known as “disuse atrophy” and can happen in as little as 72 hours. BUT, that doesn’t mean all progress is lost when taking a week off. The more fit the muscle (and therefore, you), the slower the atrophy.

So, if you’re someone who exercises vigorously 5-7 days a week, you might actually benefit from giving your body a chance to recover, so listen to it and embrace it! Maybe you just pack along a travel foam roller for some muscle regeneration.

But if you've just started out on your fitness journey, keep it up and make sure to get at least one day in while you're traveling to maintain progress, slow down atrophy, and stay consistent with those healthy habits you’re building. And I promise you'll feel a million times better knowing you fit a workout in before noshing on all the delicious holiday treats.

Healthy, Healing...Soup.

Running With Forks Warm Ginger Miso Broth and Roasted Wild King Salmon and Bok Choy and Sugar Snap Peas and English Peas and Shiitake Mushrooms

A few weeks ago, on a rainy afternoon after an intense spin class, my body craved a big bowl of healthy, healing...soup. That meant a a flavorful , healing broth packed with plenty of goodness to warm me up from the inside out, filled with some healthy delicious protein and delicious spring veggies.  After multiple requests for the recipe, here you go! Simple, easy and absolutely delicious.

WARM GINGER MISO BROTH + ROASTED WILD KING SALMON + BOK CHOY + SUGAR SNAP PEAS + ENGLISH PEAS + SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS

Prep Time : 15 min  |  Cooking Time : 20 min  |  Serves : 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 a small yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 small leek, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 4 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp white miso
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 baby bok choy, trimmed and divided
  • 1 c sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/2 c english peas, blanched
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2-4oz pieces wild king salmon fillet
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Ginger Miso Broth: Heat 2 tsp sesame oil in a medium pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and leek and cook for a few minutes until translucent and softened, but not browned.  Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes longer, until fragrant and softened. Stir in the tamari to meld the flavors.  Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Ladle 1 c of the broth into a small bowl and whisk in the miso until dissolved.  Add miso broth back into pot and let simmer. Adjust seasoning with tamari or miso if desired.
  2. Season salmon with salt and pepper and let sit to bring to room temperature.
  3. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat and add 2 tsp sesame oil until shimmering. Add shiitake mushrooms in a single layer and brown on each side, until cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Add bok choy and sugar snap peas and cook until lightly cooked through and beginning to brown in spots. Remove from pan and set aside with mushrooms.
  4. Add 1 tsp sesame oil to same pan and heat until shimmering.  Add salmon fillets and cook 3-4 minutes each side, depending on thickness.  Remove from heat and let rest.
  5. Assemble Soup: Arrange bok choy, sugar snap peas, english peas and shiitake mushrooms in two bowls.  Pour broth over the top and place salmon in center.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve warm.

Did you say Biscuits?

Running With Forks Homemade Biscuits

They weren't kidding..."the most achievable morning biscuit." I'm in love with Sunday Suppers and their magnificently beautiful cookbook. I woke up knowing I wanted to flour my hands and have a lazy Sunday morning in the kitchen and what better way than a soul-satifying, comforting and SIMPLE recipe of sausage and gravy over homemade biscuits.  It's not the sort of breakfast you'll have every day, but it's all about balance and enjoying the simple pleasures, right?  Couple that with a long, slow roast of coffee...that's how we do it in our house (as long as an adventure is not awaiting us). 

Homemade Biscuits with sausage and gravy

INGREDIENTS:

  • Homemade Biscuits (recipe in the Sunday Suppers Cookbook)
  • 1 lb organic pork breakfast sausage
  • 1 tbsp Irish butter
  • 1/4 c all-purpose flour, plus more
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add sausage and break into a few large chunks.  Brown each side of the pieces and then using a spatula, continue to break up the pieces as it cooks until meat is browned all over, thoroughly cooked and broken into smaller pieces. Remove meat from pan and set aside on a plate.
  2. Melt butter in pan and add flour, whisking continuously, until a thick paste forms.  Slowly whisk in half of the cream until it thickens and is a smooth consistency.  Add more cream or flour until desired consistency and amount is achieved (you can also use additional water as a thinner).
  3. Fold sausage back into pan to combine with the gravy.  Season with salt and a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper.
  4. Halve the biscuits and arrange desired amount of sausage and gravy over bottom half of biscuit.  Add another twist of fresh cracked pepper and finish with the biscuit top. BON appetit!
Running With Forks Making Biscuits
Running With Forks Biscuits and Gravy