Saturday, March 10, 2012

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times - Chapter 82

That's Becky Beaver behind the sign (left).  Join the "Seeing Red" and "Don't Mess With Texas Women's" campaign to restore basic preventive healthcare and family planning for women.

#82 – “Make sure you sit out in the sun to get your vitamin D, but don’t get the sun on your face.”

About a month ago I was in a meeting with a client, whose nonprofit serves people with intellectual/developmentally disabilities, and someone mentioned that at least one scientist studying autism thinks that mothers' vitamin D deficiency, resulting from admonitions  to stay out of the sun,  may be playing a part in the increase in children born with autism. At that moment, mom’s lesson #82 sparked into my mind.

I remember many occasions, after I was grown and married, when I would visit my mom and she would say, “Let’s go sit out in the sun. We need to get our vitamin D.” Or I would arrive at mom’s, and she would be sitting out in the sun - always the morning sun - surrounded by her beloved morning glories and reading The New York Times or The Dallas Morning News. Click on Read More Below...

I also remember my brother living in Alaska telling me that Alaskans had tanning beds to help fight depression caused by the long winters. Although science supports that sunlight is good for fighting depression, they’ve since proven that the light from tanning beds doesn’t produce the same therapeutic effect as natural sunlight.

Getting vitamins from nature was a norm for mom, but not something she preached. She would say, spinach is good for you because it is “full of iron,” or “drink your milk so you’ll have strong bones,” or “have an orange so you can get some vitamin C,” and leave it at that. In fact I never saw a vitamin, or any other pill, in our house other than baby aspirin which mom would reluctantly give to me (one aspirin if I had a fever over 103 degrees).

However, mom warned me about getting sun on my face – over and over and over. And did I listen? Of course not. I wanted to be a beach bunny. Comparing tans lines was highly competitive when I was a teen. It wasn’t until I was in my late 40s that I realized the irreparable damage I’d done. Now my tans are all fake, no more sun for this gal. Which begs the question, what damage am I doing by not getting more sun?

So I think that mom was right. Make sure you sit out in the sun to get your vitamin D, but don’t get the sun on your face.

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