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Come on! Gimme iron!

So to further embrace food activism, I've been a vegetarian for a few weeks now and I really like it. I have been surprised though by the hostility that has come at me based on said choice and hope that I am the exception, not the rule.

Apparently someone not eating meat really pisses people off (WTF?)!

Anyway, while I feel great about my choice, I am worried about anemia (since I got severely anemic the last time I did this). I notice that I'm already bruising like a porcelain princess and you can pretty much make an ugly yellow/brown mark on me by breathing in my direction. I plan to pick up some Arnica gel for bruises once I have them, but some purple prevention would be nice as well.

I have been working out a high-iron plan of attack, looking at when I can eat high-iron foods (and avoid dairy which reduces iron absorption). I'd like to avoid a straight up iron supplement (because they tend to upset stomachs and can lead to constipation...and anal retention just ain't my thang!).

Do folks have any iron suggestions for me? (ironic suggestions just don't count unless they are in fact about iron)


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 29th, 2007 08:08 pm (UTC)
I've experienced hostility about being a vegetarian before. Especially from my family, and especially when Dru went vegetarian. My parents nearly disowned me when they found out I let Dru stop eating meat; they accused me of forcing the choice on him. After a while, they adapted, but geez. In Austin, the hostility is less common because 1/2 the town is vegetarian, but it's hella common in Dallas.

Also, seaweed is high in iron. You could eat lots of vegetarian sushi! I took a kelp supplement for a long time to help my iron needs, and it's very gentle on the digestive system.
Oct. 29th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you Lady - you ROCK. I will totally start adding in some seaweed.

Speaking of health - how is yours? It seems like your wrist and ankle were improving, but that you had that strange breathing thing. How are you?
Oct. 29th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)
ooops - that is my reply above. I forgot to log in first...
Oct. 29th, 2007 08:34 pm (UTC)
Perversely, I've gotten hostility for eating meat, especially in the pagan/alternative community:/

I'm eating much more veggies, but I also did have some health problems when I went wholly vegetarian, which is why I brought meat back in...ironwose, I think eating spinach is especially helpful though you may want to doublecheck:)

Best of luck. Since I still cook a lot of veggie stuff, let me know if you need any fun recipes!(`)

(1) The best I have found are the Moosewood books (which still have fish, go figure) and one called _The Accidental Vegan_. The latter is great because it does not fall into the trap of trying to tell you overmuch how to create fake meat, but instead focuses on veggies, which rocks.
Oct. 29th, 2007 08:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much Jessica. I'd LOVE any good veggie recipes that you have. I've got one Moosewood cookbook, but will try to locate a used copy of Accidental Vegan...sounds cool. Much love, Jen
Oct. 29th, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC)
Spinach is not actually high in iron... well, it is, but it's also high in oxalic acid, which binds with the iron and changes it into a form our bodies can't absorb. Rhubarb and sorrel are the same way.

Other dark leafy greens are high in iron--swiss chard, kale, mustard greens.

When I'm really really craving iron I'll sometimes have a spoonful of blackstrap molasses. it works!

As for cookbooks, Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the best cookbook ever. It's not particularly healthy, but it's not *not* healthy either. Written by this cool punk rock chick from Brooklyn. Oh, The Peaceful Palate by Jennifer Raymond has terrific old-school vegan recipes that are really simple, but still delicious. I bought my parents the omnivores a copy and they love it and cook out of it all the time. You might also want to check out Voluptuous Vegan and Healthy Hedonist by Myra Kornfeld. VV has delicious and super-complicated recipes that take 3 hours to cook. HH is simpler and has chicken and fish chapters. Avoid Mollie Katzen--she uses too much dairy and is really disingenuous about her "flexitarianism", lately saying things like "I don't know how people got the idea I want them to avoid meat." Uh, because you wrote like SEVEN vegetarian cookbooks?

This is probably enough yapping in your comments for now, but let me know if you want my black-eyed peas and kale recipe. It's good!
Oct. 30th, 2007 02:41 pm (UTC)
Ashland - I adore you. I have been stalking a used copy of Vegan with a Vengeance for some time...the reviews made is sound good, but with your recommendation I will get more aggressive on it. I forgot about oxalic acids...ARG! Heme iron, non-heme iron...dairy, oxalic acid...blah, blah. I feel like my own self-appointed science experiment!

I would love any recipes you have time to send me. I have LOVED every dish of your's that I've ever had and consider you to be an amazing cook.

Much love to you! - Jen
Nov. 2nd, 2007 06:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I shall send you the black-eyed peas recipe right now (before I forget again). If you do get Vegan with a Vengeance, try the spanakopita. I made a double batch a couple weeks ago and Carlos and I have been living off it, basically. (I should probably eat the rest of it before we all get sick.)
Oct. 29th, 2007 10:37 pm (UTC)
I was veggie for the last two year of my college experience. I got a lot of crap for it too. (Most of what I know about meal planning and being veggie is about protein. I had problems getting enough and that is why I eventually stopped. I have no ideas about iron.)
Oct. 30th, 2007 02:51 pm (UTC)
I had the same college veggie experience. I guess one can't really live off of cheese sandwiches and baked potatoes from Wendy's.

I am hearing a lot of folks who don't like my choice say that they have been harassed by vegetarians for eating meat - so I wonder if some of the feedback I've been getting is just reaction to unhealthy meat eater/non-meat eater interplay.

Many folks who are close to me have said that they fear that I will become very judgmental with folks who still eat meat. That is not my intention. I still grocery shop for our home, so I buy some meat for Trey. I try to get sustainable meat as much as possible and not freak myself out over the balance between standing in my values and honoring that my partner doesn't have all of the same values (or doesn't manifest them the same way). As time passes, I am feeling less and less inclined to cook the meat for him, but I don't feel comfortable forcing my beliefs on him or creating a hostile environment in his own home.

It seems like we can find a compromise. Who knew the omnivore/vegetarian tension was so complicated!
Oct. 30th, 2007 02:00 am (UTC)
cook in cast iron. if you take iron supplements, take them with orange juice (helps absorption). there's a lovely green veggie (frozen) at TJs I could eat 3 bags a week of- it has spinach, broccoli, edamame, and asparagus frozen together. eat beets.

also, there are iron supplements that are easily digestible- they make them buffered.

I can't be a vegetarian- too many protein sources that aren't meat don't agree with me. but I have no problems with vegetarians.
Oct. 30th, 2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
WEB YOU ARE A GODDESS! I totally forgot about an iron skillet. I think that just became a "must have". I have always avoided buying one, simply because the commute home with it would be a heavy one...but that is a fabulous idea. I also didn't know about OJ at all - or the veggie mix you mention at Trader Joe's.

All of that was so helpful. Thank you lady!
Nov. 9th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)
I very rarely encounter outright hostility about my mbenedi@umich.edu. Some of my (extended) family still harass me at holiday meals.

My big pet peeve is at restaurants when my dining partners read the veggie items on the menu to me. As if because I no longer consume dead animals, I have become illiterate. Depending on my underlying mood I find this annoying or really funny.

I like all of the leafy greens and beats. Also almonds. Chocolate covered almonds being the best kind...
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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