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Get your Iron,Man!

September 3, 2009

I am considering making some semi-major dietary changes in the near future. They are gradually happening now because I do believe that slow adaptation usually ends in lasting habits. However, I’m also thinking about cooking my way through the Thrive diet, as well as becoming completely vegetarian, for a few reasons.

thrive cover

One, I have been reading the China Study and I will be doing a complete review on it when I finish, but let me just say it has been very convincing.  Two, my iron levels have once again dropped to critically low levels. I have been working with a few doctors for the past five years or so to gain an understanding as to why, but no one is quite sure. I have had to undergo blood transfusions, hospitalizations, and every three months or so I have to go through a session of daily infusion treatments that leave me sick, fatigued, and nauseous, but within a few days of recovery, boost my iron levels and turn me into a completely new and energetic person!  Today they are testing to see if it is a malabsorption problem, though they also hypothesize celiac. I just want an answer.

Most people say the easiest forms of iron to get is heme iron which is from animal sources. Good sources of heme iron are:

  • oysterscow
  • beef liver
  • lean sirloin
  • extra lean ground beef
  • tuna
  • dark chicken mean, skinless
  • canned salmon

However, from what I’ve read of the China Study the Chinese diet is much higher in iron, and they take in much less heme iron, which is why I still find hope and promise in becoming vegetarian. I’ve also never been able to digest red meat. The problem with getting your iron from non-heme sources is that while they might hold high values, our bodies don’t absorb it all. To aid in this, it is helpful to take in some vitamin C with the meal, or top your veggies with a citrus vinaigrette which I often do.  Top non heme sources are:

  • enriched cerealsspinach popeye
  • pumpkin seeds
  • blackstrap molasses
  • bran
  • spinach (cooked is better)
  • red kidney beans
  • lima beans
  • cashews
  • dried prunes
  • raisins
  • egg yolk (a reason to eat the entire egg!)
  • acorn squash


PICT0555I have been enjoying some lettuce-less salads lately, inspired by Gliding Calm. This one had some random veggies aka clean out the fridge time and was delicious! I have been making sure to get some iron-enriched veggies and seeds in them, as well as adding healthy fats!

  • yellow zucchini
  • raspberries
  • sunflower seeds
  • cucumber
  • pepper
  • fig

PICT0556 To dress it with I made a simple topping of:

  • balsamic vinegar
  • apple cider vinegar (you will always see this because it help in digestion)
  • garlic
  • flax oil

The Thrive diet suggests you eating a big salad every day. I quite like the idea of lettuce-less salads partly because of my digestion problems. It was a nice change to have some crunch instead of straight smoothies for the most part of the day. I have been checking out some of the other recipes and the meal plan the book has, it’s sort of a lot of the same thing over and over, so if I decide to make a go at it, I’ll probably make a few changes, because you all know I don’t like to follow directions 🙂

Anyway, back to one more soapbox statement on iron…

It is especially important for women to ensure their iron intake is up to par since we tend to lose a bit of our blood supply monthly and are more prone to anemia in general. Many doctors suggest a prenatal vitamin and a good one is made by Rainbow Nutrition. If you note your energy level is really low or you have been chewing on a lot of ice, get your iron level checked. Signs will show up in general tests, but you can also have them specifically check your Ferritin level.

blood draw picture

Sorry for the long post, it had been a few days so I decided I should make up for it. I have been running amuck to doctor appointments, and passing out in between. Now that I’ll be working in the mornings and strapped to an IV for the rest of the day, that should leave plenty of time to catch up on blogging :p

    One Comment leave one →
    1. September 8, 2009 8:26 am

      i need to up my iron as well! also, send me a photo of you and i’ll do an illustration! 🙂

      also, did you like the Monster design? i havent heard from you in a while!

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