No one said it better than Popeye. And where did he get his iron from? Spinach, of course, and no one questioned it. But somehow, as adults, we become concerned about not getting enough iron if we opt for a plant-based diet. Ironically, when I still ate some animal products, I struggled with low iron and was sometimes turned down when I would try to donate blood. Since going to an almost entirely plant-based diet, my iron has been perfect, at each donation. I don’t take a supplement (and true, I am post-menopausal, so there is no blood loss, which helps) but I do pay a lot of attention to getting proper nutrition.
So today’s Vegan Thursday lesson is a simple one. There are two types of iron. The kind we get from animal products is called “heme” iron, and the kind we get from plants is called “non-heme” iron. To insure we are absorbing our “non-heme” iron (from foods like beans, pumpkin sees, raisins, and of course, spinach) try combining them with acidic foods like vinegar, sour kraut, citrus fruits or other vitamin C foods. Almost daily, I eat a salad, and my salads are a huge event. Atop all the veggies, I do put chickpeas, assorted seeds and often a small sprinkle of raisins or Craisins. My dressing is always a homemade mix of fresh lemon juice (a bonus right now as our Meyer lemon tree is giving us some lemons for the first season!) and olive oil. Not only is it chock full of iron and tons of other vitamins and minerals, but it’s an event I look forward to for it’s layers of deliciousness…and it’s great for the digestive system!
Sometimes progress isn’t progressive at all. Popeye circa 1930s. He knew how to be strong and happy, even if he did get his spinach from the can…and he always got his Olive Oyl. And I keep his mantra, my own…I, too, yam what I yam!
A special thanks to Rita for bringing me all those vegan samples from the workshop she went to last Saturday. I know that some of the information is hard to “swallow” and once you see it, it’s hard to ignore. There is no doubt that what’s good for us, is also really a bonus for the all the beautiful animals!
Have a beautiful VFT, one and all. Much love.