Vitamin D

6 Aug

So, back in March, my endocrinologist told me to start taking 2,000 I.U.’s of Vitamin D (That’s 2 pills at 1,000 I.U.’s each) every day. He said that most folks are a little low in Vitamin D these days, because of using sunscreen, staying indoors, etc. and in my case, my body doesn’t metabolize it very well anyway. My blood test results in February said that my Vitamin D level was 9.1 ng/mL. The acceptable normal range for women my age is 30-100 ng/mL. Being a first born, and good at following the directions, being a “good girl” was not going to be a problem. I am pretty sure I didn’t miss a dose in the three months since his instructions. I had a lot of experience in taking Vitamin D pills, anyway, since the standard treatment back in the ‘60’s when I was diagnosed with XLH (called “Vitamin D-resistant rickets back then) was 50,000 I.U.’s of Vitamin D daily. He wanted me to take a mere 2,000 I.U.’s daily? Not a problem! (That doesn’t mean that I had to take 50 pills of 1,000 I.U.’s each, by the way…)

Yesterday, my family doc’s secretary called me to tell me the results of the blood test they did last week. She said the my Vitamin D level increased quite a bit (I could tell she was trying to sound really positive, so I was waiting for the “but…”) BUT it was still only 26 ng/mL. (I knew that “but” was coming!) “Dr. Familydoc wants to see you again in 3 months to recheck your Vitamin D level and also check your parathyroid hormone level.” Wacky parathyroid hormone levels are another challenge with XLH’ers.

Sigh. I had been so obedient, too! I really wanted an “A+” on my Vitamin D report card, but I should have known better. Living with XLH is a life-long commitment and isn’t curable, just manageable usually!

The secretary continued, “I’ll switch you over to Calendarlady and she’ll make an appointment for you.”

So, I spoke to Calendarlady. “Dr. Familydoc wants me to come in to have my Vitamin D level AND my parathyroid hormone level checked in 3 months.”

Calendarlady: “Oh, okay, that puts you in late October, the last week. What’s good for you?”

Me: “Monday, October 22 at 10 AM is good. And remember it’s for Vitamin D AND the parathyroid hormone level and is this also a non-fasting blood test?”

Calendarlady: “Well, honey, I don’t even know what in the world that parathyroid is, but the doctor will make sure that’s what gets tested and sure, it’s non-fasting.”

Sigh. You know, I have this particular mechanic that I like to use when I have car trouble and the calendar lady THERE would NEVER say to me, “Well, honey, I don’t even know what a distributor is, but the mechanic will know what to check.” That kind of response never instills confidence in a client. I wondered later if I should have spelled “parathyroid” for her…

Anyway, I put it on my calendar, and hung up the phone. Professorgrrl looked at me across the breakfast table…I guess I had that “I give up” look in my eyes because she said, “Don’t go there. It’s okay.” She knows that look and I admit, I was feeling defeated. I must be one of those people who occasionally sees the black dot on the white paper before noticing all the white surrounding the little black dot.

Again she said, “Don’t go there…I know you’re frustrated. We’ll get it up to where it needs to be! I’ll google this, we’ll read up on it.” And she did…everything online said that someone with low levels of Vitamin D should return to normal levels within 4-6 weeks after starting a Vitamin D pill regimen. Even Professorgrrl paused a moment when she read that. I had been working on this for 12 weeks.

On her way to work, she called me and said, “I’m going to do a little research and find out what foods are high in Vitamin D.” She loves to cook, and now she was on a mission!

Later she texted me, “Shiitake mushrooms are very high in Vitamin D!”

WHAT?!? Just last weekend we had gone to the local farmer’s market and bought a bag of freshly harvested shiitake mushrooms and later that evening, Professorgrrl made “Shiitake Mushroom Lasagna” inspired by the Barefoot Contessa, who has a cooking show on the food channel. Professorgrrl, though, altered it to be lower in fat and cholesterol, as she does most recipes, because I also inherited a body that makes cholesterol like Krispy Kreme makes donuts. Now, I don’t know what the Barefoot Contessa’s high fat Mushroom Lasagna tastes like, but Professorgrrl’s lower fat version was SO delicious.

Hearing this bit of news about the benefits of eating shiitake mushrooms really made my day, since the memory of that lasagna was still fresh on my palate. I asked her later if we’d go to the farmer’s market again this Saturday for more fresh shiitake mushrooms. “Oh yes,” she said.

So, I’m going to share the recipe with you, Professorgrrl’s version. This is for all of you who need a Vitamin D boost, but not a fat and cholesterol boost!

Sea Salt
Good olive oil
¾ pound dried whole wheat lasagna noodles
2½ cups skim milk plus 1½  cup of fat-free half and half
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) Smart Balance butter, divided
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 ½  pounds Shiitake mushrooms
½ cup freshly ground Parmesan plus ½ cup 2% shredded Mozarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon salt and a splash of oil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
For the white sauce, bring the milk/half and half combo to a simmer in a saucepan. Set aside. Melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring first with the wooden spoon and then with a whisk, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick. Set aside off the heat.
Separate the mushroom stems from the caps and discard the stems. Slice the caps 1/4-inch thick. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large (12-inch) sauté pan. When the butter melts, add half the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and they release some of their juices. If they become too dry, add a little more oil. Toss occasionally to make sure the mushrooms cook evenly. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and set all the mushrooms aside.
To assemble the lasagna, spread some of the sauce in the bottom of an 8 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top, then more sauce, then 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan/2% shredded Mozarella mixture. Repeat 2 more times, layering noodles, sauce, mushrooms, and Parmesan/Mozarella. Top with a final layer of noodles and sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan/Mozarella.
Bake the lasagna for 45 minutes, or until the top is browned the sauce is bubbly and hot. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes and serve hot.

For the high-fat, artery-clogging version, just Google “Contessa mushroom lasagna.”

If you don’t like to cook, give this recipe to someone who loves you, and have them make it for you! It tastes even better when someone who loves you makes it for you!

One other thing: I would like to know how this whole Vitamin D thing works. Doctors say that we get Vitamin D from the sunshine. Shiitake mushrooms, which are very high in Vitamin D, grow in the SHADE!


Copyright S.G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, 2012-2017


4 Responses to “Vitamin D”

  1. Pegi Sears Pike August 11, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    Mmmmm, I LOVE mushrooms! Next time we gather for a meal, maybe Professorgrrl could make some of that deliciousness!

    Gotta get out in the sunshine, too, and bone up on my Vit. D!

    • banjogrrldiaries August 11, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

      Do y’all get any of that sunshine out in those woods? 🙂

      • Pegi Sears Pike August 12, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

        Oh man, oh man, we had a beautiful, sunshiny, DRY AIR day today. DEEELIGHTFUL! I got a good dose of Vit. D.

        It’s getting down to 60/upper 50’s at night this week. I always forget that fall begins in August up here! Seems like it never began until the end of Sept. down in yer parts.

      • banjogrrldiaries August 13, 2012 at 7:07 am #

        Yes, we’re still waiting for a taste of fall!

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