Skip to main content

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.

Comments

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

Jan
Lori Miller said…
We have wrens, chickadees, robins, hummingbirds, sparrows, blackbirds, and probably others I don't know about.

Popular posts from this blog

Results of my Carrageenan-Free Diet

Readers may recall my ordeal last Saturday with a migraine headache and a trip by ambulance back to my parents' house. Thanks to one of the paramedics jogging my memory, I researched the almond milk I'd started drinking around the time I quit dairy. One of the ingredients was carrageenan, a substance used to induce inflammation, sensitivity to pain and other problems in laboratory animals. Supposedly, the "undegraded" form is safe for human consumption, but undegraded carrageenan has been found to be contaminated with degraded carrageenan, and there are ways that the digestive system could degrade carrageenan itself.

For the past few months, I've felt a little bloated, and was starting to have some mild pain in my lower stomach. I thought it might have been the effects of the antibiotics, oral steroids or decongestant (which gave me an allergic reaction) from back in February. I didn't connect it to the severe headache I had Memorial Day weekend. I've al…

Sausage-Induced Headaches: Another Clue Points to Carrageenan

A few years ago when I started a low carb diet and started eating sausage again, I found some sausages gave me a headache, but others didn't. At first, eating them was a crap shoot, but I soon found some I couldn't eat (Applegate Farms Organic & Natural Meats) and some I could (McDonald's Restaurants and Ranch Foods Direct, a local pastured meat company).

Some of Applegate Farms' products contain carrageenan (a highly processed, seaweed-based food additive used to induce pain and inflammation in research animals). McDonald's and Ranch Foods Direct sausage doesn't contain it.

Why put carrageenan in sausage? According to Applegate Farms' website,

Carrageenan, which is derived from red seaweed (Chondrus Crispus), activates extracted protein in the meat to help it bind together when formed. As the meat cooks, the heat forms a gel network, increasing moisture retention and improving the sliceability of the product. Without the addition of carrageenan, the…

My GERD is Cured! Low-carb Hits the Mark

It's a good day for paying your billsAnd it's a good day for curing your ills So take a deep breath and throw away the pills 'Cause it's a good day from mornin' til night
A low-carb diet has cured me of GERD! Thanks to the work of Dr. Norm Robillard, author of Heartburn Cured, I no longer have acid reflux--and I don't have to avoid "trigger foods" like onions, caffeine, chocolate (in the form of baking cocoa), mint, tomatoes and fat.
This is a big change from the Body-for-Life program I was on just a few months ago. Body-for-Life involves eating (among other things) six small servings of "authorized" carbs like whole-wheat bread, pasta, fruit, beans, brown rice and winter squash per day. Now I mostly eat meat, eggs, nuts and non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and green beans.
Low-carb diets defy just about every official dietary guideline out there. How often do you hear "eat plenty of healthy whole gr…