Benefits of sunshine

It’s spring!

(Pay no attention to yesterday’s random snowstorm.  It’s still spring!)



In case you need a reason to get out in the sunshine, here are some interesting facts about the benefits of soaking up some sun.

Sunlight fights stress by boosting seratonin levels.

It prompts your body to produce vitamin D, which helps prevents bone density loss, can help prevent some types of cancers, and may curb the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Sounds good, right?  But what about skin cancer?

Robyn Lucas, a researcher with Australian National University, suggests that we may do more harm than good by recommending that people avoid the sun.  That being said, for fair-skinned people less than 15 minutes of unprotected summertime sun exposure per day is plenty to produce a healthy amount of vitamin D, with 15-20 minutes sufficing for dark-skinned people.  Be sure to get your daily 15 minutes in the sun and then lather up with some sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) if you will be out for longer.

Need some ideas for things to do outside?

Take a walk (bring the dog, the kids, the significant other, the neighbors…)

Plant and tend a garden (we have a seed library, after all!)


Ride a bike

Take a picnic to Dawes Arboretum

Workout at the outdoor gym at Rotary Park

Powerwash your house

Read a book

Mow the grass

Lawn games (croquet, frisbee, badminton)

Swing on the swings on the playground

Or, you know, just read that book 🙂


Substitutes for unhealthy ingredients in recipes

It’s finally almost spring!  Which means that I am finally emerging from my armor of heavy wool sweaters and starting to think about trying to look decent in shorts again.  One fairly painless way to make better choices is to substitute healthy ingredients for the not-so-healthy ones in recipes you make at home.

Healthy Substitutes- No Diets Allowed
Click on this picture to visit an A-Z guide on healthy subsitutions has a list of substitutions, most of which I have tried and can vouch for.  (It’s also a great website to keep in your back pocket if you are a survivalist or prepper for the zombie apocalypse, although I suppose you’d better memorize the information since the power grid will probably be the first thing to go.  Also, I don’t know how they think we’re going to get avocados in Ohio post-apocalypse, but whatever.)

Some of their suggestions:

Sugar => unsweetened applesauce (1:1 ratio)

Sour cream => Greek yogurt

Mayonnaise => mashed or pureed avocado

More ideas if you click through to this website


The Mayo Clinic has a list of suggestions that seemed pretty reasonable to me, including:

Canned fruit in syrup => frozen fruit or canned fruit in water or its own juice

1/2 the all-purpose flour in a recipe => whole wheat flour

Iceberg lettuce => darker greens such as kale or spinach

2/3 meat in a soup or cassarole recipe => extra veggies

Soy sauce => hot mustard or sweet and sour sauce

Syrup => pureed fruit

They lost me with the substitutes for bacon, though.  There is no substitute for bacon.