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As you may have noticed, the sun is setting quite a bit earlier these days, with the combination of daylight savings and our distance from the equator. This causes many issues for people who choose to live in this area, often known as "The Winter Blues". Sue and Katherine York, aka Sol Sisters LLC, have come up with an ingenious idea to help our community to cope with these things we can't control. Their mission is to, "eradicate winter depression and vitamin D deficiency while nurturing the community."
Not only is most of the world somewhat Vitamin D deficient, but it's a seriously wide spread issue in our neck of the woods. Vitamin D deficiency affects our bodies in many ways, including emotional and physical ramifications, including SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). They've created what they call a "Mobile Rescue Unit", in other words, a sun bus. They mentioned it is possibly the first of its kind, and we can't think of something more relevant in our particular location on the globe. Their bus is filled with full and broad spectrum light (including UVB & UVA), essential for human serotonin and melatonin production. Which is why, commonly, people suffering from SAD struggle with depression and sleep issues. Vitamin D deficiency can also affect calcium absorption and one's immune system. The Sol Sisters suggest 30 minute sessions, and said "optimally five days a week" is a recommended treatment for SAD. They plan to be a year round facility, and said, "not that people will necessarily be getting on the bus in the middle of summertime, but if they come around the bus, enjoy foods we offer, and socialize with the community, that is all also part of the equation for good mental health. We never know what the weather could bring, it could rain all summer. We've seen it before, either way, we are accessible, and we'll be there. We want to be part of the Duluth culture, all year wrong."
Founded in February of last year, the sisters are already treating members of the community. Initially 6,500 people visited their website shortly after their first press release. They also hope to establish more contracts with places like schools, nursing homes, and hospitals to be better accessible to the most people possible. Not only are they worried about SAD, but also the overall health of people, which is why they also offer nutritious snacks while you're on board soaking up rays, and provide an atmosphere for people to relax or socialize if they wish. We were curious what the food aspect entailed, and they explained, "We are currently fully licensed to serve food in Wisconsin, and prepare our food out of The Superior Kitchen, but awaiting Minnesota's approval." Upon further questions, we learned the hold up in Minnesota is related to Food Truck licensing, which they are hoping to circumvent since they are not preparing food on their vehicle. Foods rich in calcium, vitamins B, C, D and K, Magnesium, Manganese, Omega 3 are Tryptophan are their goal, and they go organic as much as possible.
The SunSpot bus can seat up to 16 people at a time, and they mention on their website that, "no meal or light session costs more than $5 dollars", much lower a cost than you can say of many healthy choices. Currently these sisters are raising money to try and further their dream as far as possible. After raising nearly half of their goal, we encourage people to check out this unique business, and possibly contribute if you feel so inclined.
They can be found at http://www.thesunspot.net or http://www.facebook.com/thesunspotduluth, and their crowd funding site at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-sunspot-fights-low-vitamin-d-winter-blues#/