Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pale? Tired? Craving Chocolate? Maybe You're Iron Deficient

Here's a tale of two holidays. Thanksgiving day, I could barely get out of my chair. Answering three phone calls was a major annoyance and baking a crustless pumpkin pie was a slog. But over Christmas week, I've put plastic weatherstripping over windows at my parents' house, gone to a movie, done a lot of shopping (after watching a lot of What Not to Wear), learned to use my new Mac, recycled my old computer and printer, and taken two trunk loads of stuff to Goodwill after cleaning out my basement. I haven't cleaned out my basement in almost 18 years. I'm working out twice a week again. And my pants are falling off me.

What made the difference? Before Thanksgiving, I'd gotten out of the habit of taking an iron supplement. I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia a few years ago when I went to see a doctor for an unrelated problem. (He noticed I was pale and ordered a test.) Even with good diet habits since then (no medications, no grain, no dairy except butter, no coffee or tea within an hour of taking an iron pill, red meat every day), I need the supplement.

I resumed taking iron supplements just before Thanksgiving, but it took a week or two to feel up to speed. It also decreased my appetite. When you're undernourished, it can make you over hungry. Having been on vacation for the past week (away from the chocolate supply at work) has also helped my waistline.

* * * * * 

Even though I'm feeling more energetic, I've decided not to get chickens next spring. Some weeks ago, it was around nine degrees here (thirteen below celsius if you're outside the US) and getting out of bed early on such a morning to tend chickens is the last thing I want to do. Besides, I'm gone almost eleven hours a day at work. If a chicken got injured in the fence or by being attacked, it could suffer a long time before I could help--on a cold winter night in the dark. What I might do is put up some feeders for the birds that already live here. My yard has cover, seeds, birdbaths, and a chickadee box, and since a neighbor who used to put out bird feed recently died, this seems like a good fit.

My father is feeling better, too. A few weeks ago, he got fed up with the rehab center, called a cab and went home. He started declining until my mother fixed his thyroid medication (and they wonder why married men live longer). Dad was happy with the new furniture I bought him, but not so much about the four trash bags of junk food I threw out. He has some dementia, but he's generally reasonable and talked to his bank today about someone opening a credit card in his name last month. (The bank keeps asking what the credit card number was. How are we supposed to know when we never had it?)

The bank's question about the card number didn't make any sense, but my love of chocolate does: it's full of iron. One bar (which I can easily eat in one day) has 12 mg of iron. My supplement has 18. Here I felt like I was using, as FredT would put it. I thought it was stress. I thought it just tasted good. It's all that, but it must be the iron, too.


Lowcarb team member said...

Glad to hear your energy levels are returning.

I like the idea of a bird feeder - do you get many different types where you live?

All the best for the coming New Year


Lori Miller said...

We have wrens, chickadees, robins, hummingbirds, sparrows, blackbirds, and probably others I don't know about.