#atozchallenge: The I Post



No not that kind.

The reason iron is interesting to me is that I know quite a few vegetarians and some vegans. I gravitate more toward that style of eating too.

Non-meat eaters need to be sure they have adequate circulating iron and iron stores in the body or they will experience iron deficiency anemia. Without iron to make hemoglobin, the blood can’t carry enough oxygen to properly fuel body cells. What it feels like is weakness, fatigue, inability to keep warm. It shows up as paleness in skin that should be pink.

The bad news is that plant sources of iron are of a form that is not easily absorbed by our bodies. A good deal of the iron in meat, about 40% of it, is a form that is easily absorbed which is why meats are a good source of the mineral.

The good news is that, amazingly, vegetarians and vegans do not have higher incidences of iron deficiency anemia. And no one, whether they eat meat or not, has to worry about it if they follow a few smart eating tactics with their plants sources of iron.  In fact, dried beans and green leafy vegetables are better sources of iron per calorie than meat. Here are some tricks that will help your body absorb it:

  • Combine an iron rich plant food with a source of vitamin C (absorb up to 5 times more iron)
  • Avoid drinking coffee or tea at the same time as iron rich foods (the tannins in those drinks block absorption)
  • Eat less at a time (your body gets overwhelmed with large amounts, as in supplements, and absorption is limited)
  • Cook with cast iron (really, get a well-seasoned iron pan and use it!)
  • Get your iron from a variety of iron rich foods (many of them already come combined with vitamin C – eat that broccoli!)

Here is the list of foods high in iron:

Beans, peas, lentils, blackstrap molasses, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, nuts and seeds, seaweed (kelp and nori), soy products, whole grains.

Click here for today’s iron rich, fast and easy recipe.  Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

The Salad Is the Meal


At least that’s what it says on the new magnet we have on the front of the fridge. 20131003_130417

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been finding jars of unidentifiable, thick brown liquid in my refrigerator.  It’s the husband’s soup that he makes in our Vita Mix (the machine that pulverizes wooden blocks for demo).  I haven’t tasted any of it because I’m pretty sure the man has no idea of complementing flavors.  I’ve heard what he puts in there. He is on a roll.

Today we jumped in the truck and went to the Red Barn Flea Market to buy vegetables for the week.  He isn’t normally motivated to shop with me but there is a new angle to it now that makes him eager to choose what he’s going to eat.  He also helps prepare it for the fridge, and fixes a lot of his own meals. We spent $37 and filled two large bags with “stuff” to eat.  Ready for this? We bought beets, radishes and cilantro, yellow summer squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, avocados, celery, tomatoes, cabbage, green and red peppers, broccoli, cantaloupe and grapes.  The lady threw in two pears as a bonus.

We owe this new surge of enthusiasm to a doctor who lectured on public radio and inspired him (to put it mildly) to order a whole set of DVDs and educational material.  I have not wanted to ask what it cost – after all, it’s in the name of good health and I’m sure it will be worth it, whatever the price.

My husband is of a scientific bent and is quite impressed and interested in any research done on health topics.  The doctor who talks on the DVDs gives all kinds of evidence of the miraculous things found in vegetables.  He talks about body chemistry in great detail and his findings are that we have been wreaking havoc on our bodies with food that is bad for us.   One of the DVDs was of case studies of people whom the medical community had pretty much given up on, but who were helped back to great sounding health by eating a different way. There were lots of before and after pictures.  With good nutrition their bodies were able to reverse the course of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart  damage, fibromyalgia, ovarian cancer,  multiple sclerosis, numerous allergies, and psoriasis. And of course, they all lost weight as a side effect.

Truth is, he will get no argument from me about this.  I am totally in favor of anything that means less cooking for me, and this is a very simple way to eat.  He carved up the cantaloupe, I cooked the beets for a cold salad we had tonight, and with the nutritious beet tops I made a soup for tomorrow.  With all that other stuff we are set for the week.  I made a list so we won’t forget to eat anything.

We have been moving toward this type of diet for a while now but this will be the fine tuning that keeps his interest up.  He even wants to get other people interested in a group effort so he has someone with whom to share recipes and stories.  And there is also the online community which his paid subscription includes.

As for now, I am his group.  And I’m just sayin’ I can’t wait to feel better.