What are you up to this weekend? A system of storms rolled across the eastern seaboard earlier this week, bestowing upon us unseasonably early autumnal feels — highs in the upper 70s, overnights in the lower 60s, humidity cut nearly in half to around 50%!
As I stand here in the early hours, before the sky fully wakes, there is a profound stillness. The dim headlamp on a skiff returning from a morning of fishing in Spicer Bay, barely discernible through the tall marsh grasses, and the rhythmic wing flaps of a lone Canada goose flying low overhead, are the only interruptions.
It’s my favorite time of day. The air is cool(er). The constant winds have yet to kick up. And the clouds. The clouds. If you follow my IG feed you know that our morning skies are rarely dull.
Did you catch the eclipse on Monday? Where we were in South Carolina, clouds added a little suspense, parting just in time to give us the entire show. A bright afternoon instantly turned to hazy dusk, prompting street lights to come on. Towering clouds in the distance took on an eerie glow, fighting for attention with two very visible planets. The heat and humidity dropped, ushering in a welcome two minutes of almost autumnal coolness.
And then, as soon as the “diamond ring” appeared, it was gone. The August day returned to normal as if nothing happened, crowds packing up and heading home. I was left in total awe, far more impressed than I thought I would be… also thinking to myself: Where is George Harrison when you need him?
Snapped this photo waiting in a roadwork queue on the way home from Virginia the other week. One of those mornings you could darn near wring the humidity from the thick, still air.
I can almost feel that radiating heat all over again just looking at it.
This post is part of the series Nutrient Spotlight... meant to explore the what, why, where, and how of important dietary players, with some culinary inspiration to get you started.
This edition of Nutrient Spotlight highlights iron — an essential mineral found in every cell of the human body.
What is it? // Why do I need it?
Iron functions primarily as a carrier of oxygen in the blood, increasing blood supply and promoting tissue growth. Iron also provides energy, and plays supporting roles in immune health, promoting strong hair, skin and nails, as well as female fertility. It is crucial a woman increases iron stores prior to pregnancy, as the female body often uses its own iron to supplement the growing baby, putting the woman at risk of postpartum anemia. Low maternal levels may also increase risk of infections, preterm delivery + low infant birth weight.
Additionally, adequate iron levels help protect against lead absorption, and can help mitigate the effects for those exposed to lead. In conjunction with a diet rich in calcium and vitamin C — two nutrients that improve iron absorption — the body is able to not only limit the absorption of lead but also promote its excretion.
Iron deficiency is not uncommon in the United States, affecting as much as 7% of the population. Symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, fast heart rate or sensation of an abnormal heartbeat, shortness of breath, brittle nails, pallor, or a craving for ice and, in severe cases, for other “non-foods” like detergent, chalk, dirt – a disorder called pica. (Learn about the many different types of anemia from the Mayo Clinic.)
Excess iron, from diet and/or supplementation, may cause constipation or result in other forms of mild to serious GI distress. Extremely high iron levels are not too common, but may raise disease risk, most dangerously for a genetic disorder called hemochromatosis (if predisposed), coma or worse.