Pumping Iron

Every Sunday should involve pancakes.

Preferably pancakes with over 30 grams of protein in them! I made Monica‘s Protein Packed PB Pancakes and they were awesome. I used Greek yogurt instead of cottage cheese. I used to eat cottage cheese religiously until a little over a year ago, when I bought some from Wal-Mart… it was expired… I was permanently scarred… and I swore I would never buy it again 🙂

These would be the perfect breakfast to make in a big batch and stick them in the freezer for days you won’t be eating lunch for a while. I went on a marathon Ikea shopping trip (let’s just say we were in the store for over 3 hours) and I didn’t eat lunch until over 7 hours after I ate these pancakes. I was hungry, but I wasn’t going to die of hunger any time soon. My mom kept asking me, ‘Do you need to eat?’ Yeah, I’m the person that likes to eat every three hours or I get a little fussy. At least everyone recognizes it 🙂

I’m glad my diet has so much protein in it lately, because I went to the gym to lift weights today. I’m still learning about the correlation between protein intake and building muscle, but it can’t hurt, right? I did 60 minutes on the elliptical and some arm weights. One of my strength training sessions for the week is already knocked out, and it feels so good!

There is another part of my diet that I feel is lacking, and that’s iron. I really want to donate blood, but every time I try, I’m turned away for having low iron. I’ve only been able to donate once, and I was just barely over the limit for acceptable iron content.

Most everyone that I talk to about this thinks it’s because I’m a vegetarian, because the only time I was able to give was when I was 17 and wasn’t a vegetarian. But, even when I was eating meat, I ate it very rarely, and the rest of my diet certainly wasn’t providing with me enough iron.

The last time I went, I was a few months into being vegan, and was making a huge effort to eat iron rich foods with foods high in Vitamin C (apparently it helps your body absorb iron.) I was JUST under the limit! So frustrating. I have AB negative blood, which less than 1% of Americans have, so it’s kind of like liquid gold. I feel obligated to donate!

My sister has the same problem, and we’ve been tested for anemia and white blood cell count, which are fine. My doctor DOES like to screw up our bloodwork and switch our results around, which can lead to her prescribing me medicine that I’m allergic to but my sister is not, but I digress… that’s a story for another day 🙂

Anyway, I want to give again, and I want to make sure my iron levels are up. I need to find that bag of lentils I know is hiding in my cabinet! Iron-rich foods containing non-heme iron (iron from plant sources) are:

  • Cooked beans and lentils
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Canned beans
  • Baked potato with skin
  • Enriched pasta
  • Canned asparagus

Apparently grains, vegetables like spinach and sweet potatoes (!!) soy products, red wine, and coffee and tea are iron inhibitors. Uh oh!

(Source)

In addition to making sure I’m eating enough iron, I’ve been taking a multi-vitamin every day until my appointment on Wednesday and I’ll see if that makes a difference. I don’t take any supplements currently, but I figure it can’t hurt. I eat a balanced diet for the most part, but it couldn’t hurt to fill in the gaps.

What do you think about taking supplements? Do you donate blood? If you can, you should! My dad donates as often as he can and at last count has donated over 10 gallons!

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42 Responses to Pumping Iron

  1. Hannah says:

    Would you believe I haven’t made pancakes in over a decade?! Shame on me! I’m trying to eat more protein myself, so will have to check out these pancakes. Luckily, I always have blackstrap molasses on hand for my iron needs!

  2. I just tagged you for a stylish blogger award over on my blog!

  3. ahh i love those pancakes!! I do take some supplements and i think if you need them and they will help you.. you def should take them

  4. I take a biotin supplement and was recently told by my doctor that I need to start taking vitamin D supps. I’m on the fence about taking too many, you know? But if it makes you feel better, it’s worth a shot!

  5. ~Jessica~ says:

    I don’t think we should fear supplements, as long as we’re not using them as replacements for a balanced diet because nutrients from food are absorbed more readily and effectively. Obviously you eat so healthily that, as you say, supplements would simply be augmenting your diet.

    I take calcium, vegan glucosamine (joints, plus I have osteopenia so I have to be very careful) and a vegan multi, since despite my huge nutritional yeast consumption I still worry about B12.

    So, no shame in taking a few vits/minerals at all!

  6. jhowells0913 says:

    Love healthy pancakes!! And I would be scarred too! There is nothing worse than spoiled food, ewwww! I have never donated blood :/ Not that I wouldn’t I just haven’t taken the initiative to go out and find a place to donate….I will put it on my to-do list tho! 🙂

  7. Priyanka says:

    I am AB positive, the universal recipient! I have never donated blood.

  8. I do take supplements: multivitamin, fish oil, calc +d. Make sure your vitamin is one that you have to take at least twice daily and has a very short list of “other ingredients”. The longer the list the more processed/binders are in it!

    • Great advice. I’m taking the same multi that my parents can take, but the ingredient list takes up half the bottle! I want to find something a little more natural and preferably something without Vitamin A… I get plenty 🙂

  9. greekmelie says:

    I have the same problem with low iron. As I understand it is quite common, especially for women. My doctor suggested taking iron supplements but they mess with my stomach and overall hate them (all 4 different types and brands I have tried). I’ ll try the foods you mentioned, even if they do not work, at least they are tasty! And I take one multi-vitamin every day. I started taking them in the beginning of the semester and they kinda work. I haven’t been sick this winter! 🙂

  10. for someone like you, I would suggest a supplement, not JUST for iron but a multivitamin. Some people just have naturally low iron and need a little extra help! nothing wrong with a supplement in your case!

  11. I take a multi-vitamin every day and a flax-oil pill. I think it’s good to supplement your diet so you know you are getting enough nutrients…especially if you are active 🙂

  12. Did you know that chocolate contains iron?

  13. I started donating blood a few years ago and love it. Unfortunately I got a tattoo in September so that has kind of slowed down the blood giving a bit but as soon as I can, I’ll be giving again. 🙂

  14. I think taking supplements is a smart way to get whatever vitamins/minerals your body needs that your diet is lacking!

    I can’t give blood because I was exposed to SARS and bird flu (I lived in China), but I have to admit – I really really really hate needles so it’s probably better this way.

  15. Great post! I often struggle with getting enough iron in my diet (even though I’m not a vegetarian). I’m going to really make an effort to eat more protein-packed food sources, like beans and lentils, and I LOVE foods that keep me super-full for hours, if I know I won’t be able to eat for a while (like those pancakes!).

  16. Those pancakes look delicious! I love pancakes that have a lot of protein and can keep you full for hours. Yummy.

  17. I have had a couple small probs with low iron – but I have really tried to include more protein in my diet lately 🙂

  18. Kat says:

    I always donate blood whenever I can. The blood bank people actually call me if I havent come in a while lol

  19. I take iron + mulitvitamin supplements, but I’m not sure if they’re helping, because supposedly they aren’t taken in properly or something…? But you’re right- it can’t hurt! 🙂

  20. Peggy says:

    I’ve never been able to donate… I used to be into getting a new tattoo every year (but now that I have 4, I think that’s enough) and you can’t donate for 12 months after getting one. I suppose it’s almost time that I could!

    And on the iron supplements, it’s actually a very common thing, so I’d definitely recommend it!

  21. I’m definitely on the lookout for a good iron supplement now 🙂

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