When you are a lifelong born and raised Sunny Californian, like myself, Scandinavia is as different, magical and otherworldly as a place could be to a young man. In Southern California it’s hot all year round, the landscape is “naturally” sparse and desert-like which is basically heaven-on-earth according to popular opinion, but as with anything else, familiarity breeds it’s own contempts.
Scandinavia on the other hand looks like Lord of The Rings come alive; rolling hills, big mountains, flowing rivers, gentle fjords, majestic canyons, bewitching forests and gorgeous plains. However, all of this exotic expanse comes with one price, a harsh environment. Scandinavia’s winters are dark, cold and dreary. When there is light it is a grey so bland it crushes the soul, and can turn the brightest and cheeriest fellow into a brooding mess.
I had never really heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) until it came and kicked in my door one day and took me by force. SAD, very simply, is the phenomenon through which one becomes depressed or moody due to heavy seasonal change and generally speaking, a lack of sunlight. My education in the powers of vitamin D was short, brutal and effective; vitamin D deficiency sneaks up on you leaving you feeling sad, lonely and will easily distort your chipper disposition into a sour one without you being any the wiser!
Vitamin D comes to us mainly through our skin and is delivered by the Sun. Another great source of vitamin D is fish. Historically, the Scandinavians have long been a seafaring people (Vikings anyone?) and consumed massive amounts of fish to subsidize the lack of sunlight. A coincidentally happy natural solution to a natural problem they were completely unaware of!
Well, needless to say, one does not consider the need for consuming massive amounts of fish when the supermarket is full of so many options. I was so profoundly unhappy for no reason, and could not figure it out. What did I have to be unhappy about? I was in a new place, experiencing new and exciting things with my beautiful new Danish girlfriend (now wife).
But, the thing about your health and your mind is that it can not always be reasoned with, and your rational explanation to it will not magically inject your system with the vitamin D it’s craving and you are unaware of. You just need to make sure you get it; and when my wife came to me and said “you need vitamin D, you aren’t getting the sunlight you are used to.” It was so simple!
The relief was almost immediate, and was it sweet! If you aren’t getting enough vitamin D here are some of the side effects you can expect and may be experiencing:
- Muscle Weakness
- Difficulty Breathing
- General Malaise
- Weakened Immune System
The good news is, simply by going down to your local pharmacy or even grocer you can pick up some vitamin D supplements and you should get back to normal in no time flat.