Tag Archives: Iron

“Ironing” Out The Vegan Assumptions

ee01183d2c4c465517eb294ffcbe5e79

Hi Lovelies!

As you may have noticed, I have had a HUGE break from blogging.

Unfortunately I have had a couple of health problems and I had to put recovery as my number one priority. Therefore blogging was put on hold.

People assume that my health concerns happen to many vegans. Actually I have heard many people stop eating a vegan diet because of these health issues.

Today I want to put all of those “typical vegan” assumptions to an end and if you have come across the same health issues as me, I want to reassure you that you don’t have to change or question your vegan diet and lifestyle.

Let’s cut to the chase, after a few months of feeling dizzy, stupidly fatigued, daily headaches, nose bleeds and bruising easily than usual I was diagnosed with anaemia and very low protein levels.

A lot of people commented about my vegan lifestyle being the culprit of my health concerns and some people were really surprised considering my passion towards health and nutrition.

To be 100% honest with you, I wasn’t surprised when I was diagnosed. I knew what it was when I had all the symptoms but I just kept putting off going to the doctors because I thought I didn’t have time to go. I didn’t put my health as my number one priority.

So some say all I need to do is ditch the vegan diet. To that I say bull crap!
That’s the lazy way. That also doesn’t guarantee that I won’t become anaemic again.
When I was younger and forced to eat meat I was diagnosed anaemia. The time that I had the highest iron levels were when I first became vegan!

I became ill because I simply used my busy schedule as an excuse and also my lack of organisation skills for prepping food for the week.

Along with being busy I changed my exercise routine which also required a change in the nutrients I needed.
I began lifting heavy weights again (YAY for weights!). The past few months I have loved the feeling of getting back into weight lifting and seeing my body become stronger. Having said that, I wasn’t seeing fantastic results even though I was dedicated because I didn’t change my diet to suit my new routine. I wasn’t replacing enough of the iron that I was using from my training and I wasn’t repairing my muscles properly with the protein it needed.

So to say that all vegans are prone to being anaemic and being protein deficient would be a decent lie.
Anyone is capable of having defiencies if they don’t look at their own individual health needs that fits their body and lifestyle.

It can take around 3-4 months to fully recover from having anaemia and although I am nearly two months in, I already feel a lot better.

I hardly ever get dizzy anymore and I am seeing great results in my strength.
After months of not wanting to go on protein powders because I don’t like eating preseritives and anything that isn’t natural, I finally came across a protein powder that I am happy with.

It’s made from pea protein, coco and Stevia. THAT’S IT! It’s extremely clean with only 3 ingredients and comes with 23.3g of protein per serve!
I have been buying it from Bulk Nutrients for those interested to check it out, though be sure to see if they can post out of Australia as I am not 100% sure on that one.

As for iron, I have been loved up with spirulina and for now I am also on an iron supplement.
My health and welling is my focus before anything else these days and it feels great to have that type of respect for myself and my body.

As always I’d love to hear your feedback and also if anyone has had a similar concern.

Be kind to yourself,
Lisa xx

3 Comments

Filed under Health

Comforting Chilli

After my last post Ironing Out The Inhibitors I thought today’s recipe would be a perfect opportunity to share with you one of my favourite iron rich dishes.

I sometimes get so caught up in creating new dishes that I forget about my old favourites but this one is definitely not going to be forgotten this winter!
It is such a comforting meal that bursts with flavour and everyone seems to love it just as much as I do.

It is a delicious way of getting in your iron from the beans and spinach mixed in with capsicum (vitamin C) to increase iron absorption.

Including beans into your diet has many health benefits.

Beans are an excellent source of fiber which prevents blood sugar levels from rising to rapidly after a meal.
If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, kidney beans can really help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy.

1 cup of kidney beans provides 15.3 grams of protein so this is just another reason to love and make beans a staple in your diet.

There are so many chilli recipes out there but this is one that I made years ago and I always default back to it because it is so simple, quick and the flavours all complement each other perfectly.

Ingredients

Serves 2

1 can kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
½ red capsicum
1 carrot
1 cup button mushrooms
½ small brown onion
½ tsp minced garlic
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ mild curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp fresh basil
2 cups baby spinach (tightly stuffed)
Nutritional Yeast (optional)

Instructions

  1. Saute onion, garlic, carrots and capsicum in a non stick pan to soften (5-8 mins)
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients in (except baby spinach) and stir to mix in well
  3. Reduce heat to low-medium and let it simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve onto a bed of baby spinach leaves
  5. Sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on top if you desire.

You should probably know that I add nutrition yeast on everything! So if you aren’t a junkie to it like me please feel free to leave it out.

I hope you all love this recipe as much as I do!

Do you have a secret ingredient for your chilli recipe?

Lisa

5 Comments

Filed under Mains, Recipes

Ironing Out Inhibitors

Iron is such an important mineral that needs to be a priority in everyone’s diet regardless of what diet or lifestyle you follow. If you have a deficiency (anemia) in iron then you can count on feeling fatigue, mental decline, paleness and a decrease in your immunity, which can lead to many more health problems.

Iron can be toxic and even deadly if you overdose so I can’t stress enough how important it is not to self medicate and buy iron supplements. Always consult a doctor first.

My last post was about the assumptions that go with the word “vegan” and being anemic is just one of them.
When I was in High school I suffered from anemia and this is when I ate animal based products.
Now that I am well educated on iron and how your body absorbs it, I have perfect iron levels and have been known to show anyone my blood test results who is willing to let me brag over them.

There are two types of iron: heme Iron (found in animal foods) and nonheme Iron (found in plant-based foods).

Heme iron is better absorbed by the body than nonheme iron sources but that doesn’t mean just because you don’t include animal based foods in your diet that you are doomed to be anaemic. If you are aware and create a dish that includes foods that help the absorption of iron whilst removing the foods that inhibit iron absorption, you can easily get the same amount of iron or if not more than a dish that is rich in heme iron.

Vitamin C is iron’s best friend; including foods that are rich in vitamin C will ensure better iron absorption. This can be as simple as squeezing the juice of a fresh lemon over your meal, adding some red capsicum to your salad or my favourite: sprinkling goji berries onto your wholegrain breakfast.

Calcium and caffeine are irons enemies, so your morning coffee or tea isn’t doing you any favours to your iron-rich wholegrain toast. Sorry.

Now being a former caffeine addict I completely understand that it would seem impossible to give up your morning coffee so the good news is that you don’t have to!
Just make sure you have your coffee at least 2 hours before or after a meal to ensure it doesn’t affect your iron absorption.

Wholegrains, beans, lentils, nuts, soy* and certain vegetables are all sources of iron.

There is a reason why you should always soak your grains, beans and nuts before cooking and eating them and that’s because these wholesome foods contain phytic acid (phytates).

Phytic acid doesn’t just reduce the absorption of iron but it reduces the absorption other minerals as well, such as calcium, zinc, and magnesium.

I used to roll my eyes and say “it can’t make that much of a difference”, but it makes a huge difference (50%-100%) and it does matter, so get in the habit of soaking because it will benefit you greatly.

Soaking your grains, nuts and beans should be in water that is at a warm room temperature for 12-18 hours for the best results in removing phytic acid. I start soaking before I go to bed and by the next evening they are ready to use for dinner. Soaking also helps reduce cooking time which is perfect because I have no patience time to wait around.

Soy is extremely high in phytic acid so although you marvel over the nutrition index of the beneficial minerals, be aware that this is doing very little because the phytic acid binds to the minerals to keep you from digesting them.
Once again that doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your favourite tofu dishes but just be mindful and try to limit your intake.

So if you ensure that you soak your grains, beans, lentils and nuts add vitamin C and remove calcium and caffeine from an iron rich meal you will be well on your way to getting that perfect blood test.

What is your favourite iron rich meal?

Lisa

2 Comments

Filed under Health