Vitamin D Dilemma and Healthy Snacking  (March 2015 issue)
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My Buffalo Chicken Flatbread Pizza and a few other game day snacks were featured over at The Arizona Republic. Perfect finger food!

Are you getting enough Vitamin D?
I'm not.

March 2015  

Hello my dearies!

I'm so sorry to have skipped over a February newsletter, but the month was a whirlwind, including a weeklong trip in Madrid, a national television shoot in L.A. (more to come soon!) and last week in Orlando. While traveling can be exciting, there's no place like home and being with my family. I'm glad to be back to being a homebody for awhile.

Now, here’s a shocker. Recently, I asked my endocrinologist (I see him for my thyroid) to test my vitamin D. Not because I had any symptoms, but because a friend of mine who also lives in sunny Arizona received test results saying that her vitamin D blood level was way low. I received my results—and shocker—mine is a bit low, too! I was surprised. "30-50" is the ideal range and mine was at "21," so I have some work to do to get it back to healthy. Granted, I avoid the sun like the plague by slathering on sunscreen daily, running for cover under an umbrella while dining al fresco or “relaxing” poolside (with a 1-year-old, talk about an oxymoron). I always leave my legs without sunscreen due to the very fact that it will help my body make the vitamin D it needs. Well apparently, it isn't enough. My doctor advised me to take a 2,000 IU vitamin D supplement daily with food (so the body can absorb this fat-soluble vitamin)—so, food with FAT. I've spoken with a few well-informed RDs and they advise taking a vitamin D supplement with vitamin K in it, to help facilitate the body’s usage. I did some more reading, and the recommendation to overcome a deficiency is actually 6,000-10,000 IUs per day. 

Experts recommend exposing the arms and legs to direct sunlight for 15-20 minutes twice per week. Are you meeting that? If you live in a cold climate, most likely you are not this time of year. And even if you do live in a warm climate, how often are you really exposed to direct sunlight?

Vitamin D is also found in foods, but not many. It occurs naturally in oily fish like canned tuna in oil, salmon and halibut, and is added to foods including real milk and fortified non-dairy milk and orange juice. Smaller amounts are found in egg yolks, margarine and some breakfast cereals,  And the list pretty much ends there, with the exception of random sources like mushrooms exposed to UV light.

I will keep you posted on my vitamin D saga after my next lab work. Meanwhile, here is a journal article on vitamin D if you really want to geek out. I hope you enjoy this month's recipes and news.

Until next time, my friends!

- Michelle

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The Michelle File: My Latest Recipes
I made this Garlic and Smoke Popcorn Mix while filming a SuperBowl segment on ABC15. Football season may be over, but who doesn't love a flavorful and healthful snack?
I also shared this Buffalo Grilled Chicken Flatbread Pizza along with a full Super Bowl spread of recipes with The Arizona Republic. Guests at my Super Bowl Party loved these options, plus they're great year round!
I hope you'll try my new Apple-Cinnamon Whole-Grain Pancake Muffins, with 13 grams of high-quality protein when served with 8 ounces milk. Sponsored by my friends at Milk Life.
Other's Recipes Worth Making. Loved it!
It's been warm and sunny here in Arizona, but I know that's not the case in most places across the country. Warm up with this Creamy Seasonal Vegetable Korma from my friend and fellow RD Jackie Newgent. You can use any vegetable you like for this delicious and vegan one-pot meal. It's simple to make, tasty, and healthy! This one is a winner.
Michelle in News You Can Use
Female Chefs' Healthy Tips on SHAPE Magazine Online: I was absolutely thrilled to be featured in SHAPE Magazine online in their female chef round up with our favorite healthy eating tips that we follow, plus recipes.
Immune Boosting Foods with Arizona Midday: Here are the top 5 foods I named to boost your immune system: citrus, sweet potatoes, oily fish, almonds and beef. My segment that aired on Arizona Midday. Stay healthy, my friends! Disclosure: KIND is a client.
Think unloading unhealthy foods on food banks is a good idea? Think again. Here is the segment that I was quoted in at St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance with Families Giving Back founders Lisa Geyser and Alex Sklar, about the importance of donating healthy foods to food banks. I learned some great things from this experience, as well.
Seductive Dinners with SHAPE Magazine: I shared a few romantic dinner ideas with SHAPE Magazine. With a chicken piccatta and a seared scallops recipe up your sleeve, you will be able to please most dinner dates. This was a Valentine's Day feature, but why keep the celebration to one day a year? Treat someone on any day!
Seasonally Obsessed

Kiwi: One of my other favorite winter fruits: the small but mighty kiwi. Enjoy while they are slightly soft, but not mushy, for optimal sweetness. If they are still firm, put them in a closed paper bag for a few days, otherwise they will be too tart. This time of year, their origins are within the United States, rather than New Zealand or Italy. I usually just peel and eat them. Technically, the skin is edible. One of these days I need to try that. Kiwi are also delicious in smoothies, like in my Orange and Kiwi Smoothie.

My New Favorite Thing

Strong & KIND honey mustard bars: A savory snack bar? Whaaaat!? That’s right. KIND has been a client of mine for the past few years and I’ve loved their bars for the past decade. Within the past year, they’ve released their line of savory bars and my favorite is the honey mustard flavor. I love that they’re made with ingredients that you can see and pronounce, with 10 grams of protein each. I always keep a bar in my purse for when hunger pangs strike when I’m on the go. Get them here.

Fun with Stella
Yogurt, without the mess. Chobani sent me their new Greek yogurt pouches created especially for tots, to sample. Yogurt can be a messy food in a toddler's hand and this pouch streamlines the feeding process. It is easier for tiny hands to hold, and the smaller opening means the yogurt actually makes it into little mouths. You know, instead of in their hair and smeared on the high chair. Stella's bib managed to stay clean--not a normal occurrence around here! An easy snack that the kids can feed themselves? Awesome.
Don't have my cookbook yet? You're missing out on over 110 mouth-watering, quick-fix meals filled with clean ingredients that everyone will love! Available at Amazon and wherever fine books are sold. It's also a great gift for the parent who enjoys cooking.
Eat Like Me, Shop Like Me: Check out my new Amazon store. I get a small commission off of anything you buy through my store or link, which helps pay for my IT guy, improving the way I communicate with you online. Check out my aStore here!
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