Activated Shiitake and Dulse Almonds
Vitamin D is an fat soluble vitamin that we need throughout our lives, especially in pregnancy. One of our main sources of Vitamin D is the sun. So as the days get shorter and we are outside less, its important to increase our supplementation and Vitamin D rich foods. We also get Vitamin D naturally from fish oils, or from fortified foods like milk, and OJ.
Another great source of Vitamin D is mushrooms, especially if they are dried in the sun!
Vitamin D allows for calcium absorption and enables normal bone mineralization and growth for the pregnant person and the developing fetus. Additionally, more and more is coming out about the benefits of Vitamin D especially the role it has in pregnancy, such as promoting insulin action and secretion, immune modulation and lung development. Not only having effects on the pregnant person, but the baby as well.
Effects of low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to pre-eclampsia, preterm labor, low birth weight, gestational diabetes, primary cesarean sections, and bacterial vaginosis. But there are no randomized studies (yet) showing that Vitamin D supplementation decreases these risks. Vitamin D deficiency doesn’t just affect the mother, the fetus will also be deficient and has an increased risk of skeletal issues, hypocalcemic seizures, and low cord blood concentrations of Vitamin D have been associated with respiratory viruses and respiratory infections as well as asthma later in life.
There is still a lot to be learned about the levels of Vitamin D supplementation and what the levels should be in our bodies for optimal health. There is no data to support routine testing in pregnancy, but providers should test those who are higher risk (people with darker pigmentation, people who don’t go outside often, or at latitudes that have decreased sunlight). There is also controversy about what routine supplementation in pregnancy should be. But most expert agree 1,000-2,000 IUs is safe for someone who is deficient and although data is lacking, 4,000 IUs is even considered safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Most prenatal vitamins are nowhere near this and pregnant individuals may need to add in more when appropriate. Toxic levels of Vitamin D are thought to be extremely hard to reach.
The following recipe packs some serious nutrients into a quick and easy snack:
Shiitake Mushrooms: These mushrooms have been used for thousands of years for medicine and food. They slow tumor growth, support health cholesterol levels, and are immune boosting.
Dulse- Dulse is a red seaweed harvested in the cool waters along Atlantic coast of North America and also along the shores of Ireland and Norway. Its fronds grow in tidal areas on rocks, and shells. As most seaweeds, it contains iodine, which if you are eating sea salt, or himalayan salt, you may be missing out on this important nutrient that support your thyroid. Dulse also contains a variety of minerals, especially magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and traces of others.
*DO NOT EAT IF YOU HAVE A SHELLFISH ALLERGY*
Sunny Mushroom Powder:
½ LB Shiitake Mushrooms (you could also use your favorite mushroom here, but a study was done by Fungi Perfecti with shiitake specifically, with amazing results: by drying the mushrooms in the sun, their Vitamin D2 content went from 100 IU/100 grams to nearly 46,000 IU/100 grams!)
*Important to note, testing for Vitamin D is usually looking at D3. So you may also have to supplement with D3 to get the full variety of D vitamins.
Loosely cut up mushrooms.
Place the mushrooms, GILLS UP as much as possible in the sun until dry. This may take a couple days. Remember to bring them in at night, and keep an eye on the weather.
When the mushrooms are completely dry, use a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder to make into a powder.
Store in a cool dark place in a jar or use right away with the following recipe. You could also add this powder to soups, or other savory treats!
Activated Shiitake and Dulse Almonds:
This is a “loose” recipe, so please adjust to how much you want to make, or what ingredients you want to add/ take away.
Organic Almonds (Use as many almonds are you will eat over the next few months.)
Sunny Mushroom Powder (see above)
Dulse Powder (you can buy powdered, or powder flakes using a coffee grinder)
Apple Cider Vinegar
Aminos (I use coconut aminos which are a bit sweet, but Braggs Aminos would also be delicious)
24 hours before mixing everything together, soak the almonds in filtered water.
Place the almonds in a jar twice the volume. Fill with filtered water. Let them soak on the counter for 24 hours. After the 24 hours, rinse and let drain.
Mix together Apple Cider Vinegar and Aminos to your liking. I did about 1:1 parts.
Add in the almonds and let them soak for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a separate bowl combine Sunny Mushroom Powder and Dulse powder.
Add the wet almonds to the powders and coat well.
Place an even single layer of almonds on the dehydrator sheets, or a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt.
Dehydrate at 125℉ for about 24 hours. If using the oven, set to the lowest temperature your oven allows and cook until the almonds are completely dry. This may take the full 24 hours as well.
Store the almonds in a jar and enjoy!