Raw and Vegan Doesn’t Mean a Lack of Iron

Getting enough iron is vital, particularly for the seasonsed woman.  Lack of  iron in the system can result in anemia.   Anemia occurs when there are not enough healthy red blood cells in the body.  These red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues.  There are several forms of anemia.  One of the main reasons for its occurance is the lack of important elements in the body including certain vitamins and minerals as well iron, B12 and folic acid, which is another B vitamin.    

Avoiding anemia means having healthy red blood cells that are formed primarily in the bone marrow.  An interesting thing is that a hormone created in your kidneys signals the body to replace healthy red blood cells every 90 to 120 days.  Without the right nutrients, the bood (hemoglobin) will not produce healthy red blood cells.

It is commonly believed that people who don’t eat red meats or other animal proteins are at particular risk of being deficient in the substances needed for the body to produce healthy hemoglobin and avoid anemia. That means if you prefer to eat raw, vegan or vegetarian, you would be of higher risk for anemia.  However, the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to become anemic because of not eating animal products if you are careful to eat in a balanced manner and take care to ingest the right vitamins and minerals.  

For instance, iron is found to be very high in green leafy vegetables.  In fact, some have been found to have a higher concentration of iron than animal flesh.  According to the USDA, gram for gram, kale has fourteen times more iron than red meat and spinach, strawberries, cabbage, bell peppers, and cucumbers have more iron per weight than ground beef or sirloin steak.

Also, eating Vitamin C foods help with the assimilation of iron in the body.  Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and many of the foods listed above as high in iron.  All of these foods are found in diets eaten by those who don’t consume animal flesh products. 

What really needs to be watched is the potential intake of B vitamins and B12 overall which is not found in plant foods.  This is probably the vitamin you might need to supplement to avoid a deficiency.  

It’s good to know that eating a raw/vegan or vegetarian diet means being able to take good care of yourself.  When you’re armed with information on how great fruits and vegetables are in maintaining overall health you can be even more motivated to live this lifestyle.

Season for Detox – Day 8

Well on to week two with my detox.  I’m feeling great right now and decided to start using Alissa Cohen’s, Living on Live Foods cookbook as my source for foods this week. 

This isn’t just a raw cookbook but a type of mini-encyclopedia for all things raw.  I’ve had this in my cookbook library for a few years but never stopped to use it.  Actually, the Kale and Tomato Salad I made last week came from this cookbook and it was great.  Today for lunch I used the Mock Salmon Pate recipe.  I had this dish at the Vegan Potluck I was invited to last Sunday so was very surprised to find it in this cookbook.

The recipe calls for a red bell pepper to give the salmon color to the mix but I only had  a green bell pepper.  It still came out good without the correct color.  Of course, I added more spices as many raw recipes are a bit bland for me.  Instead of having it on a cracker I used a cabbage leaf as a wrap and added a green olive.  Wow, this one is a winner. I’m going to a potluck in December and this recipe is in the running for my offering. 

A surprising thing was that I was actually full today.  One reason could be that this dish was a bit more substantial than others I’ve had so far.    Another reason might be that my stomach is getting used to this fresh, whole food diet and not needing as much food. 

Oh yes, I have to remember that I also made cookies so that helped.  Some of the ingredients included flax meal, rice flour, 72% cocoa, almonds and mixed with coconut oil. They were baked so not officially raw, more vegan, very hearty too.   This recipe wasn’t from the Cohen book.

But the book is definitely worth looking into if you interested in raw foods at all.  She provides loads of information on how to get started with recipes that are easy and delicious.  Click on the book here to read more about it.