Sweater weather is here! So long summer, don’t let the door hit you in the….Hey wait! Could you leave me a tan to remember you by? Or not.
Tans may look good, but tanning is bad news. Indeed, the deep dark Hawaiian Tropic tan may be passé, but almost everyone appreciates his or her appearance with a sun-kissed glow. I do!
As a kid, I used Crisco in place of tanning oil. Yep, I basted myself like a butterball turkey. Then, for a short time, I loved me some Jersey Shore-style tanning bed tans. Today, however, I schedule yearly skin checks with my dermatologist, and use sunscreen daily. Quite the sunny disposition turn-around, eh?
Truth is, Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, from both direct sunlight and tanning beds, causes sun spots, wrinkles and skin cancer. FYI, tanning beds triple the risk of melanoma.
Then there’s the injectable tan. Melanotan, aka afamelanotide, the “barbie” drug, or “tan jabs”, is a synthetic hormone injected twice daily to increase skin’s melanin production – all the glory of a George Hamilton tanorexic tan without UV radiation. Initially developed as a tiny absorbable subcutaneous implant for use in treating skin pigmentation disorders, such as vitiligo, Melanotan is not FDA approved – thus super risky, and oh so sci-fi creepy. It is not illegal to buy or use Melanotan, but it is illegal to sell or import it in many countries….this has ‘yet to be discovered side-effects’ written all over it.
Lest we forget the tan-solution-family’s crazy cousin, bronzing. White couches, stained clothes and bath towels everywhere hate body bronzers. So do I, because they are gross. Slather a filmy layer of brown goo on my skin? It’s body make-up. C’mon! No. Just, no.
I must admit, even the slightest sunscreen-filtered tan is more desirable than the pasty white winter face I’ll be sporting around for the next few months.
Idea from Oz
Just when as I was about to surrender to the idea of long seasons as a pasty-face, I attended a taping of The Dr. Oz Show. I was reminded of the harmless phenomenon of carotenosis – skin turning yellowy-orange from eating too many carrots. My college roommate who drank daily carrot juice had carotenosis, only we called it a “carrot tan”. Inspiration ala Mehmet!
Project Carrot Tan
The yellowy-orange hue of hypercarotenosis is caused by excessive consumption of carotene found in many vegetables including pumpkin, sweet potato and….carrots. I decide juicing a lot of carrots will give me a lot of carotene without overdoing it on the fiber. Year-round glowing skin, sans the sun? Worth a try. Bring on the carrots!
~ High in antioxidants, carotenoids (which turn into Vitamin A), and low in fat
~ Vitamin A is good for vision and skin. Carotene protects the body from free radicals
~ Originally grown as medicine for stomach problems and topical wound care
~ Served with the last meal on the Titanic – my carrot will go on
~ Nine carrots contain the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk
~ Rabbits in the wild don’t eat carrots
~ Mel Blank ,the voice of Bugs Bunny, was allergic to carrots
14 Carrots a Day for 14 days
I am a girl on a mission with a juicer. Fourteen carrots (approximately two pounds) yield roughly 16 ounces of juice. My trusty Breville juicer delivers the daily orange stuff. Photos are taken every morning at approximately the same time in indirect sunlight to document my progress. Carrot tan here I come!
Two weeks later; I’m no oompa loompa, but I do have a slight yellow tinge to the palms of my hands, and a barely detectible yellowish hue to my face. I did it! I have a golden glow without the horrible side-effects of conventional “tanning”. The added bonus discovery: I’m a carrot fan!
Carrots are veggie superstars, but juicing is only one way to get your beta-carotene on. The following are genius recipes starring carrots like you’ve never seen them before.
1 ½ cup Old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup unroasted chopped pecans
1 T ground flax
¾ cup almond butter
3 T agave nectar or honey
¼ t ground cinnamon
¾ cup packed grated carrot
1/3 cup raisins
In a large bowl, mix together oats, pecans and flax. Stir in almond butter, agave and cinnamon. Then stir in grated carrot and raisins. Roll into medium bite size balls. Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to one week.
2 lbs of carrots
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup fat-free sour cream
3 T all-purpose flour
2 T butter, melted
1 t baking powder
1 t vanilla extract
¼ t salt
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook carrots in boiling water for 15 minutes or until very tender; drain. Puree carrots in a food processor or in a bowl with an immersion hand blender until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.
3 medium carrots
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 400°. Line a pizza pan with parchment paper or I use a silpat. In a food processor, blend carrots until very finely chopped, or use a grater. Using cheesecloth strain as much water (carrot juice) out of the processed carrots as you can – should have about 1 cup of dry carrot. Stir in garlic, cheese, and egg. On a pan or silpat, spread into an 8 inch circle, or two 4 inch circles (like I did). Bake at 400° for 10 – 12 minutes, until just starting to brown around the edges and top appears dry. Remove from oven and add topping of your choice. Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Then turn oven to broil for an additional 1 or 2 minutes to make the top crispy.
My Breville juicer and I welcome the coming seasons, and give carrot tans a glowing review. Although, it’s hard to call my carrot tan an actual ‘tan’ when it’s really just the result of utilizing a healthy vegetable full of good stuff. Either way, carrots are my new vegetable hero. Nutritious, delicious and most auspicious – the tan is just the icing on the carrot cake.