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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Iannelli-Rubin

Here comes the sun!

Did you know that there are over 70 species of sunflowers? Sunflowers are native to the Americas and were domesticated around 7,000 B.C. They began to be introduced to Europe in the 1500s. A sunflower is cultivated as a producer of food. Did you know that one sunflower produces about 1000 seeds?

These seeds can be commonly used in salads, smoothies, bread stuffing, snacks, and many, many more. Sunflower oil can also be produced and used as a cooking oil. Cheaper than olive oil, sunflower oil can be used for frying. Today, Russia and the Ukraine are the largest producers of sunflower oil. And while sunflower oil is thought to provide some health benefits for heart health, it has also been shown to release toxic compounds when heated to higher temperatures over time. So it's important to learn and be mindful of all that you use in your kitchen!

What comes to mind when you hear the word, sunflower? For me, sunflowers take me back to Italy. We spent two wonderful weeks in Italy in 2017. While I traveled through the Tuscan region, I was pleasantly surprised to experience some of the most memorable and scenic sunflower fields that I have ever seen. The scenic hills, rolling fields and architecture was undeniably special. We stayed in a beautifully bed & breakfast converted from a farm. The location was surrounded by endless sunflower fields. It was there that I finally understood the the "light" of the Tuscan region that everyone raves about. The light in this region of the world is undeniably dramatic, creating contrasts and constant head turns. I fell in love with the region.

I love to keep fresh cut flowers in my house, especially through the grey, winter months. This week, I picked up this bouquet at our local grocery store. I personally feel that fresh cut flowers help to create a sense of calm. My overall mood and well-being is better when I am able to catch a glimpse of a fresh, simple, happy pretty. Have you ever given it a try? Go get it!

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