tuesday eats: why i eat animal fat and sit in the sun

I have a vitamin D deficiency. So this is what I do:

* I sit in the sun most days – sometimes in the middle of the day – with no sunscreen on, no hat. No slipping or slopping.

* I eat full-fat saturated animal fats. Like cheese. And meat.

There, that got your attention!


A lot of you out there would also have a D deficiency. Which is not great. Because D is proving the most underrated nutrient in the world of nutrition –  it helps to prevent osteoporosis, depression, prostate cancer and breast cancer, diabetes and obesity. I’ve been told my deficiency is contributing to my digestion problems, my thyroid issues, my calcium deficiency. Some are claiming it’s the biggest health challenge we’re facing.

Here’s the funny thing:

* Sunlight is the best (and really only) way to get Vit D. But we’ve been told to cover up and stay out of the sun for years. Ergo we’re deficient.

* We need full-fat food to synthesise Vit D once it’s in our system. But we’ve been told to stop eating such food for years. Ergo we’re deficient.

And it gets funnier (in the cruel ironic sense):

* We stay out of the sun to avoid skin cancer. But studies show we have a faaaaaar greater chance of dying from a Vitamin D deficiency-related cancer than of a sunburn-related skin cancer.

And just to confirm:

* Full sun on the face is best, for about 20 minutes

* No sunscreen – Even weak sunscreens (SPF8) block your body’s ability to generate vitamin D by 95%.

* Between 10 and 2 is really the only way to get enough of the stuff.

Yep, this is EXACTLY the opposite of what we’ve been told. The sensible middle-ground I take is to get the sun, without sunscreen, in the morning before 9am. And then try to be outdoors at some point in the day…for a bit. I have dark skin, so I don’t burn. But I ensure I never get to the point of my skin tingling or going red. I’ve spoken to a number of doctors who say the same: get sun, not too much, don’t get red.

If you want to read more, Tara Parker-Pope wrote for the NY Times recently about the hype surrounding vitamin D. Dr Mercola goes to town on the subject often.

But here’s some more stuff to take away:

* If it hurts to press firmly on your sternum, you may be suffering from chronic vitamin D deficiency now.

* Sunlight that generates vitamin D in your skin cannot penetrate glass. So you don’t generate vitamin D when sitting in your car or at home.

* You can’t get Vitamin D from your diet. Or, at least, not enough. You’d have to drink 10 tall glasses of vitamin D fortified milk each day just to get minimum levels.

* People with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 to 30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D. This is why prostate cancer is epidemic among black men—it is a simple but widespread sunlight deficiency.

* It takes months of vitamin D supplementation and sunlight exposure to rebuild the body’s bones and nervous system.

* It is impossible to generate too much vitamin D in your body from sunlight exposure: your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs

* Once vitamin D makes it into your body, cholesterol is needed to synthesise it and make it useful to your system. Cholesterol is transported in the blood plasma of all animals, which is why we should be eating some animal fats to get it. These are the good fats that our body needs to function effectively. They are essential for calcium to be incorporated into our bones, as well as to boost immune function, and to build a healthy nervous system and digestive tract.

* Mushrooms are the only vegan source of vitamin D (besides sunlight exposure)

Me, I eat high quality animal fats and I cook with organic coconut oil and organic butter daily. I don’t do low-fat!!! It’s pointless. And unhealthy.

I also take a supplement made from natural vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) which is human vitamin D.

What are your thoughts on all this? Will you be bucking the Slip Slop Slappers and getting sun? And ain’t it a relief to know that something as pleasurable as getting sun is actually good for us!!!

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