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The Winter BLAHS

 

Or Seasonal Affective Disorder

Or Why Does Winter Seem So Long?

Or Why Isn’t Spring Here Yet? 

 

If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D., as I do, you may be feeling a bit down right now. For the few who may not know what S.A.D. is according to the Mayo Clinic web site:

 

“……  is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you’re like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring or early summer. “

According to Family Doctor.org  women tend to suffer from S.A.D. more than men. Between 4% to 6% of Americans suffer from S.A.D. Another 10% to 20% tend to experience a milder form of S.A.D.

I fall in that latter category. My symptoms are mostly mild and require nothing but light. I just use regular or full spectrum lightbulbs. I refuse to pay the outrageous prices for these so called S.A.D. lights. Some people take medications.

For me it is the lack, not just of sun, but of daylight hours. It is the shortenend day. It is the dark. It is dark in the morning when I get up. And it is dark by 5:30 p.m. I like light. I abhor dark. I like summer when there is more than 12 hours of daylight. My mood improves one-million percent.

I would not be able to tolerate those places where it is dark 20 or more hours a day.

For me these dark days of winter sap my energy. I am fine during the day. But by about 5:30 or 6:30 I am dragging. I get lethargic. I don’t want to do anything.

This year has been better due mostly to my Twitter friends, especially those that suffer S.A.D. too. Having friends I can talk to and laugh with has helped a lot this year. It is free therapy too.

The hardest part of the S.A.D. season for me is right now;  the first two or three weeks of January. Once I can start to see the minutes of daylight increasing I start to feel better. That usually occurs around the middle of January. I am so looking forward to mid-January. I can even accept cold and snow more when daylight hours are greater than night.

For me these three weeks are the slowest weeks of the year. It is like they will never end. 

aaaaaaaaaaaCauses

 The lack of sunlight, lower melatonin levels, and perhaps serotonin levels as well seem to be the main causes of the condition.

Symptoms

These include: depression, anxiety, loss of energy, social withdrawal, oversleeping, and irritability, a craving for foods high in carbohydrates, loss of interest in activities usually enjoyed, and weight gain, and difficulty concentrating and processing information.

One year I gained 10 pounds over the winter. I am fairly positive it was the number of Radish Sandwiches I ate. I had them for lunch two or three times a week. But those sandwiches got me through S.A.D. Fortunately I lost the weight over the summer.

But ever since I do limit my winter intake of Radish Sandwiches. Last summer I posted a recipe for Radish Sandwiches. These simple little sandwuches are so delicious. I could not stop eating them.

Treatments

Treatments depend upon how severe symptoms are,  but include light therapy, medications, and some people believe in dietary aids like more omega-3’s, B vitamins, and D vitamins.

As I have said, I have never had to consult a doctor over my S.A.D. I know it will be over soon and it is not that severe.

But I sure do look forward to spring and sunny daffodils bursting through the snow.

 Are any of you S.A.D? What gets you through the dark days of winter? We would all really love to hear from you. Leave your stories and ways you survivie winter in the Comments section below.

Featured Recipe    Sunshine Salad

This salad is the perfect antidote to a gray, dark winter day. It will cheer you up. It is like having the sun on your plate.

Sweet oranges and salty black olives go together very nicely. It’s a sweet-salty thing.

Today when I went to the store to get some Navel oranges, I saw an orange I had never seen nor heard of before. The sign above them read Cara Cara oranges. I asked the produce clerk if it was the same as a navel since it looked like them. She said they were similar, but not the same. She said the color was really a pretty pink, almost like a grape fruit. She also said they were sweeter than Navel oranges, and that there were no seeds.

So I decided to try one. I purchased one Cara Cara and one Navel.

When I came home I did an internet search and learned that Cara Caras have been around for years. They are a type of navel orange, first grown in Venezuela. Some are grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley now.  

If you want to read more about the Cara Cara orange you can click here, here, or here.

This is one of the sweetest salads you will ever taste. It is SOOOO delicious!

Some people add red onion slices to the salad. The salad is delicious that way too. Some people add diced red onions or shallots to the dressing, as well as other spices such as paprika. Jazz the salad up any way to suit you. My recipe is the simple basic recipe.

Here is what you need for 2-3 people:

2 Navel oranges

Black olives, about 10

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1 sprig parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

Slice the oranges into rounds.

I am not a professional chef, and as regulars to MTTD know, I am scissor challenged too, ever since failing scissor cutting in 5th grade. Therefore I am also knife challenged.

That and I just waste so much of the fruit when I cut off the skin or peel the way cook books and the TV shows do.  They just cut off so much of the fruit when they cut the skins off that it seems a waste to me.

So this is what and how I do it.

I cut the fruit into as even slices as I can. I laid the slices up here so you can see the difference in the color of the Navel oranges (left side) and the Cara Cara’s (right side.) The Cara Cara’s are certainly pinker and do resemble the color of a pink grapefruit.

Then I make a small slit in the peel only.

Then I use a knife to loosen the peel all the way round and slip the fruit out. Works for me.  Cut anyway that makes sense for you and that you feel comfortable with. Just cut the ornages into slices somehow without cutting your fingers.

But from the pictures you can see, very little fruit is wasted.

After you cut the peel from each of the slices, place the orange rounds onto a plate in pleasing fashion and with some eye appeal something like this:

Making a pretty, eye-appealing plate was really easy with the two colors. This was the best part of using the two different varieties of Navel oranges. Using the two colors makes this salad look 500% better than when there is only one color. Much prettier. And I think food should look pretty. Don’t you?

Now scatter the olives over the oranges. Also scatter some diced parsely over the oranges too. This is such a colorful salad. Nice and spring looking.

Now it is time to make the dressing. Place the olive oil in a small bowl. Add the red wine vinegar, some salt and pepper if using.

Whisk until the ingredients are emulsified and the dressing looks a lovely pale pinkish color.

Sprinkle the dressing over the salad and pass the plate and let each person take what they want. This salad goes with anything and everything from the humble hamburger to steak or lamb, and anything and everything else in between.

Bon appétit!!!

Cost

2 Navel oranges                               $1.62

Black olives, about 10                       $0.19

3 tablespoons olive oil                      $0.54

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar             $0.04

1 sprig parsley                                 $0.05                         

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $2.44

Cost per person for 2 = $1.22

Cost per person for 3 = $0.81

You won’t get sunshine that inexpensively going to Florida!!!!!!

Quote of the Day

It’s a great country, but you can’t live in it for nothing.

Will Rogers 

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