Sunday, 14 October 2018

Widow's Endorphins: Vitamin D, Sunshine and Dahlias

Widow's Endorphins: Vitamin D, Sunshine and Dahlias: It's mid October, and big, fat Dahlias are still brightening Toronto gardens with their vivid colours.  A Sunday afternoon walk wi...

Vitamin D, Sunshine and Dahlias


It's mid October, and big, fat Dahlias are still brightening Toronto gardens with their vivid colours.  A Sunday afternoon walk with my camera (okay, the Samsung phone), is so beautiful, I don't even notice the cold wind. 

It's quiet.  The park next door is undergoing a major multi-year reservoir reconstruction project, and only a few of us seem to know the secret path to the Volunteer Garden.  The bees are still softly buzzing from blossom to blossom.  It's an afternoon of blue skies, sunshine and pretty pink flowers!


It's known as the Sunshine Vitamin.  Your body produces vitamin D when your skin is directly exposed to sunlight.  Actually, the ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays of sunlight do the trick.  Black people absorb more UVB in the melanin of their skin than whites, and need more sun exposure to get the same amount of vitamin D.   

In parts of the world where the hours of sunlight nearly disappear for months at a time (think of Canada from November to April), where sunlight is obscured by heavy air pollution, or people live and work indoors from sunrise to sunset, lack of vitamin D is a real issue. An estimated one billion people have vitamin D deficiency.


Almost one hundred years ago, a link was found between vitamin D, and the prevention of rickets (a disease which causes bone deformaties).  Six years ago, the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, part of the US National Institutes of Health, published a report by the Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics, that vitamin D "may play a role" in preventing "cancer, heart disease, fractures and falls, autoimmune diseases, influenza, type-2 diabetes, and depression".  For the past several years, many Canadians have been supplementing their diet with a daily dose of 1,000 units of vitamin D, or more.

Then, earlier this month, a controversial review of 81 vitamin D studies showed the vitamin had no effect on increasing bone density, or preventing bone fractures.  In New Zealand, Aukland University's Associate Medical Professor, Mark Bolland reviewed nearly 54-thousand cases, and found that even in higher doses, vitamin D had no preventative effect.  His conclusion is that if you are healthy, you don't need extra vitamin D to prevent fractures, however, if you are seriously deficient -  take vitamin D.  
The review did not cover vitamin D and cancer or heart disease.  Right now, more than 100-thousand people around the world, are in vitamin D trials, including research into cancer and heart disease. 
The weather forecast shows sunshine most of the week, and I plan to be outdoors enjoying the UVBs!  Although, midweek could see thick clouds of smoke covering the sunlight in many Canadian cities...October 17th, marijuana becomes legal, and this country's skies could be a little hazy.

Photographs Copyright of:  Ruth Adams, Widow's Endorphins Photographic Images Incorporated


Monday, 8 October 2018

Widow's Endorphins: Thanksgiving...Action de Grace

Widow's Endorphins: Thanksgiving...Action de Grace: It's Thanksgiving Day in Canada.  A country with so much to be thankful for, including two official languages:  English and French. ...

Thanksgiving...Action de Grace

It's Thanksgiving Day in Canada.  A country with so much to be thankful for, including two official languages:  English and French.  Thanksgiving in French, is Action de Grace.  An easy way to remember, is to think that when we say grace before a meal, we are giving thanks.  Thanks for nature's bounty, for the farmers who planted, tended, and harvested the crops, the truckers who transported it, the grocery store workers who stocked the shelves and handled the cash, the people who cooked the dinner, and for those sharing in the meal.


You know how I love to play with words...Action de Grace also makes me think of grace in actionIt is in doing acts of kindness, and extending a hand to those in need, that we express grace.

Happy Thanksgiving! Joyeuse Action de Grace!


Photographs Copyright of:  Ruth Adams, Widow's Endorphins Photographic Images Incorporated














Sunday, 23 September 2018

Widow's Endorphins: Fifty Shades of Salmon

Widow's Endorphins: Fifty Shades of Salmon: It's late September, a time when a youthful Rod Stewart tells an aging Maggie May, that he "really should be back at schoo...

Fifty Shades of Salmon


It's late September, a time when a youthful Rod Stewart tells an aging Maggie May, that he "really should be back at school".  It's late September, and schools of fish are swimming for all their lives, up rivers which had taken them out to sea four years before.  

While skipping class, Stewart may have missed this science fact:  salmon have a four year life cycle, spending their first year in lakes and streams, before swimming out to sea until the fourth year, when they return to their spawning grounds to breed - and die.  It's a spectacular natural phenomenon which occurs every year.  Every fourth year, there's a super big "graduating class", or what is properly called, a "dominant year run".  This year - a dominant year run - British Columbia expects seven to 14-million salmon will make their way from the Salish Sea, back to their hatching grounds. 

The Adams River Run, in the BC Interior, is one of the world's biggest salmon runs.  The Sockeye returning home to the Adams River, on Shuswap Lake attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world, who come to see the "sea" of red coloured salmon.  Their ruby red skin is a sign of aging and near death (at least Maggie May only got wrinkled).  School groups gather on embankments to watch the salmon spawn...that is to say, millions of male sockeye salmon fertilizing the eggs of millions of female sockeye.  They sort of have sex and die, making it a powerful subliminal message in favour of abstinence.  


There must be fifty shades of salmon!  It is a colour midway between pink and orange, with a lot of white tone in it.  You may call it light peach, apricot, or frosted orange.  If you lived through the '80s you may have painted a wall in salmon, worn a dress or sported a golf shirt that was salmon coloured.  

Salmon is still a popular colour in flower gardens and floral bouquets...especially in Summer and early Fall.  On the colour wheel, the orange shades are opposite purples.  So it is, that in a garden, or bouquet, salmon colours pop alongside purples and lavenders.  At this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, salmon colours are complimented by silver greys, golden pear, and plum colours, while readers in the Southern Hemisphere may use creams, pale yellows and lavenders.  


The next three weeks, are the peak time to see the sockeye run on the Adams River - more specifically, September 28th to October 21st.

It's also a great time to visit the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario, about an hour North of Toronto.  There, you'll see Mary Pratt's sublime painting of salmon fillets.  Sadly, my phone's camera does not begin to capture the transluscence of this work.  The Newfoundland Photorealist painter, who died earlier this year, is famous for making the everyday come to life in paint.  Her work is luminous.

The painting, Split Grilse (1979) depicts salmon fillets, from a young salmon caught and filleted by her daughter.  Pratt, the stay-at-home mother of four, used her camera to capture the light reflecting from, or enveloping food or objects in her kitchen, and later painted the highly realistic images onto canvas.

The McMichael holds the world's largest collection of Canadian art, and is a must-see for tourists, and Canadians, who, like salmon, make an annual run to the gallery to take in the art, and the surrounding colourful Fall leaves.  The leaves are beginning to turn yellow, orange...and sockeye red!



Photographs Copyright of:  Ruth Adams, Widow's Endorphins Photographic Images Incorporated.