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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #146

Updated on July 20, 2020
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Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes one ingredient at a time.


That topic is on my mind as I write this because my husband and I just celebrated 39 years of marriage. "Milestone" events like the 25th or 50th get all the recognition; why not those odd-numbered in-between years? You can't make the leap from 25 to 50 without the others, right?

I went to the Hallmark website to find out what they consider the "appropriate" gifts for those fill-in years. Here they are, just for fun:

  • 26th - Art
  • 27th - Music
  • 28th - Linens (yeah, by now the wedding stuff is LONG gone)
  • 29th - Tools (kitchen?)
  • 30th - Pearls
  • 31st - Travel
  • 32nd - Bronze
  • 33rd - Iron
  • 34th - Food (OK, now we're talking)
  • 35th - Coral
  • 36th - Antiques (I think I qualify as one of those)
  • 37th - Books (cookbooks?)
  • 38th - Luck
  • 39th - Laughter

Okey dokey. Enough about me; let's get started with today's mailbox. If you're an old friend, you already know how this works. But, if this is your first visit, let me introduce you to my kitchen.

Each week I receive questions about food ingredients, cooking or baking terms or methods, requests for recipes, and queries about nutrition. Just about anything food-related has been covered here.

I'm sharing this past week's questions and my responses; it happens every Monday. Want to join in the fun? You can leave your question in the comments below, and next week the answer will be right here. It's that easy.

Help With Vitamins

The first question is from Denise McGill (you know her as Paintdrips):

"As for me, I was wondering recently about vitamins. I remember when my grandmother used to swear by them and must have had 10 bottles next to her at any one time; everything from Vitamin C to all the Bs to Iron and Magnesium. I was wondering about the benefit of Vitamin C. Can't I just drink orange juice and get just as much Vitamin C that way? It is one of those vitamins that is eliminated every day and only what the body needs is used anyway, right? I haven't a lot of confidence in pills. However, I am getting older and I have to take Vitamin D every day because the dr. said I'm not getting enough sunlight and my body isn't converting what I am getting like I used to... so?"

That's a really good question. Honestly, I'm not accustomed to taking pills either, but I have friends who, like your grandmother, line up the bottles every morning. I do take a Vitamin D tablet every day and calcium is important (I have osteoporosis). Let's look at a few that you mentioned—find out what they do for us, how much we need every day, and how/if we can get them through a normal diet or if we need to supplement.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C | Source

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a good one to start with—it's easy peasy lemon squeezy (pun intended). As luck would have it, Vitamin C is an easy one to add to your diet; in fact, you're probably getting your daily recommended dose by doing nothing than eating what you always eat. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Vitamin C is 75 to 90 milligrams which is the equivalent of one glass of orange juice, but there are plenty of other fruits and vegetables on the C-list.

What does it do for us? Vitamin C protects against cardiovascular disease and is an antioxidant. In other words, it gives you superpowers! Some physicians believe the daily dosage should be higher, much higher (500 milligrams or more). As Denise mentioned, Vitamin C is not stored in the body; it's water-soluble and what our bodies don't need is flushed out. However, large doses can cause stomach irritation and/or diarrhea.

Foods High
in Vitamin C
Food Source
Red cabbage, 1/2 cup
Tomato juice, 1 cup
Brussels sprouts, 1/2 cup cooked
Broccoli, 1/2 cup cooked
Green pepper, 1/2 cup
Orange, 1 medium
Kiwi, 1 medium
Kale, 1 cup raw
Papaya, 1 cup
Guava, 1
Strawberries, 1 cup


Vitamin A
Vitamin A

Vitamin A

Next, let's look at Vitamin A. This vitamin supports cell growth and is important in eye, heart, lung, and kidney health. The average adult needs are 900 micrograms (μg) per day for men and 700 micrograms for women.

Vitamin A is found in many meat/animal products, but vegans don't have to worry. There are a number of vegetables that provide it too (typically orange plant foods such as sweet potato, carrots, cantaloupe, peppers, mango, and dark leafy greens). But be careful with this one; too much Vitamin A can be toxic so don't assume that if some is good more is better. Stick within the guidelines shown below.

Foods High
in Vitamin A
Food Source
Beef liver, 3 ounces
Cod liver oil, 1 teaspoon
Salmon, half a fillet
Bluefin tuna, 1 ounce
Blue cheese, 1 ounce
Hard-boiled egg
Sweet potato, 1 baked
Kale, 1 cup cooked
Turnip greens, 1 cup cooked
Carrot, 1 medium cooked
Spinach, 1 cup raw


One option for Vitamin D - tuna and salmon
One option for Vitamin D - tuna and salmon | Source

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb and utilize calcium which we need for our bones and teeth. It also helps regulate insulin levels so can protect against type 1 diabetes.

Summertime sun exposure can give us our recommended daily dose of Vitamin D, but it breaks down quickly, meaning that our bodies do not store it well and we may need a nutritional boost in the winter.

The sun is our best source for Vitamin D but a definitive "prescription" is difficult to create because there are so many variables. When the sun's ultraviolet (UVB) rays touch a person's skin, the body starts to manufacture vitamin D. But the amount made and the amount required depends on geographic location, the time of day, whether or not one is wearing sunscreen, the amount of skin exposed, and even one's skin color (pale skin color makes Vitamin D more quickly than darker colored skin). For those reasons, it's best (I think) to take a daily supplement. But before you run to the pharmacy shelf, of course you should consult your physician.

Foods High
in Vitamin D
Food Source
Rainbow trout, 3 ounces cooked
Salmon, 3 ounces, cooked
Canned tuna, 4 ounces
Dole's portobello mushrooms, 1 cup
Fortified orange juice, 8 ounces
Egg yolks, 1
Multigrain Cheerios, 1 cup + 1/2 cup fortified milk


Denise, I hope this information helps. For nutrients such as Vitamin D, I think it best to take a supplement, but (in my personal opinion) a healthy, balanced diet should provide the other vitamins we need on a daily basis.

I didn't address the B Vitamins because there are several and it's a complicated and complex issue. Iron and calcium are important too, and I'll tackle those in the next few weeks.

Streusel Topping for Pie

I love to bake pies, but struggle with the top crust. Sometimes it falls apart, or it's to small, or it just bursts open and there is pie juice running down the sides of the pan and the mess is horrible. What about a streusel topping? Do you have a good/easy recipe?

Pie with streusel (crumb) topping
Pie with streusel (crumb) topping

I do indeed. I've had this recipe for so many decades I can't be sure of its source; it might be Betty Crocker. I'll give her the credit. It it's someone else and I've mis-applied the kudos, I apologize.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut in small dice
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed, of course)


Place the flour and butter in a large mixing bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour; you should have pea-sized crumbles. Stir in the brown sugar. Happily dispense the mixture over the top of your unbaked pie and bake as normal. There should be no eruptions or explosions—just a happy, bubbly pie with a simply sweet topping.

We're Organized

Did you know that there is a Table of Contents for this series? I have created an article that provides a detailed listing of each question I've received. It's broken down by category, and within each category, the questions are listed alphabetically. Each question is actually a hotlink back to the original post.

Here's a link to that Table of Contents.

I have also cataloged all of my personal recipes that I have shared with you in this weekly Q&A series and in all of my other articles as well. The link to that Index is here. There are hotlinks to each recipe and this will be updated as new recipes are shared.

Let's Try Again Next Week

If you have questions about foods, cooking techniques, or nutrition you can ask them here. If you are in search of an old recipe or need ideas on how to improve an existing one I can help you. If you want to learn more, let's do it together. Present your questions, your ideas, your comments below. Or, you can write to me personally at this email address:

And, I promise that there will always be at least one photo of a kitty in every Monday post.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Linda Lum


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