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 Post subject: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:24 pm 
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My omni roommate just found out she has a form of anemia and needs to begin eating iron rich foods. Her diet mostly consists of processed foods, except for when I cook vegan meals for her.

What iron rich recipes can I cook for her to have on a regular basis? I know spinach and other green leafy vegetables are full of iron but I'd like to have some comfort food type recipes to share with her as well.

Thanks ppk!


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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:28 pm 
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Hmm...I also struggle with anemia and one thing I really like to make is chili. It's convenient because it combines iron rich beans with vitamin C from tomatoes, which supposedly helps you absorb the iron better. It's easy to put together and you can make a ton and freeze some for later. I'd link you a recipe but I don't usually use one. Ummm 3 or 4 cans of beans, a big can of tomato puree, a small can of chunky tomatoes, sauteed onions and garlic. For flavor I usually add blended chipotles in adobo or green chile sauce.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:31 pm 
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And I wouldn't necessarily call this comfort food, but a serving of Malt-o-Meal has like 60% of your RDA of iron. So in the colder months I have that for breakfast with a glass of OJ for vitamin C. And it comes in like maple brown sugar and chocolate flavors now.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:30 pm 
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I assume she has a prescription for a high-dose supplement? Food alone probably isn't sufficient to refill her iron stores, although you haven't mentioned what type of anaemia this is. You can have issues with iron without eating wrong.

No drinking milk (dairy makes it harder to absorb iron!), coffee, hot chocolate or tea (that includes black tea and herbs like chamomile and peppermint) with meals that contain iron from plant sources. And no taking calcium supplements with food. All of those things inhibit iron absorption. Spinach actually isn't a good iron source because of the oxalates.

I would read the relevant sections in Vegan for Life. There's some stuff about adding vitamin C, sprouting, toasting nuts and seeds, fermenting bread etc. in there.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:15 pm 
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oatmeal with molasses. quinoa.

this study says oxalic acid doesn't inhibit iron absorption
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17440529

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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:17 pm 
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Do you have cast-iron pots? Cook in those for a while (especially the tomato dishes).

I second the Malt-O-Meal idea, or try Coco-Wheats.

If the supplement she has disagrees with her, have her call her doc. There are several brands and forms out there she can try, some are easier on the stomach than others.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:07 pm 
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This list is a pretty good place to start (ignoring all the meatiness, of course...):

http://www.redcrossblood.org/learn-abou ... rich-foods

Definitely pair these foods with foods high in vitamin c:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/2 ... ide=911210

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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:25 pm 
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Like supercarrot mentioned, molasses is loaded with iron. It's a bit strong tasting, but mixed in with oatmeal is a great idea. I like making oatmeal with mashed up bananas and almond milk and molasses. Lentils are very rich in iron, so something like snobby joes might be a good idea. Or for something more comfort food esque, how about a shepherd's pie with a tomato lentil base topped with mashed potatoes?

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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:46 pm 
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My iron is on the low end of normal, but my ferritin came back low... which apparently can eventually lead to low iron? I don't understand how that works, to be honest, but I'm trying to eat more iron-rich foods anyway. My regular diet is really high in greens and beans, so I guess I just have to get better about supplementing. Or learn not to hate blackastrap molasses. It completely ruins oatmeal for me. Gingerbread is basically the only vehicle for it I like, and I don't really want to go on a gingerbread-rich diet.

Maybe it wouldn't suck in a pumpkin smoothie? I might try that.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:00 pm 
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i do admit to cutting the molasses with agave. (i think about half and half.) i really like it on puffed wheat cereal.

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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:09 am 
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Bumping this for inspiration. Just got my blood work back and my ferritin is in the toilet (7). I'm supplementing with prescription iron atm, but would like some ideas for upping the iron I get with my diet. (Especially as I suspect my new GP is going to give me shiitake about being vegan even though I've always been susceptible to anemia even when I was omni.) I'm going to have to do some things differently (like cut out my coffee/tea intake, and start supplementing with vitamin C), and I'll be checking out the relevant chapter(s) in Vegan for Her, but I would love some more ideas for iron rich meals.

I already figured I'll be doing chili more often (I love the chili recipe in Vegan Diner, but wonder if I should leave the cocoa out), and I do love me a pasta e fagioli. I really like the idea of oatmeal with molasses for breakfast. Greens like mustard greens and collards are nigh on impossible to come by here, but I can get things like kale (never been much of a fan, but can learn to like it), escarole, spinach, and arugula (which I adore) along with all the cruciferous veggies.

I read somewhere (although I don't know if it's true) that the iron in fermented soy is easier to absorb than in unfermented so tempeh is better than tofu in that respect. Has anyone else run across this info? (I kind of wondered if the calcium level in tofu might be an issue anyway.) I love tempeh, so that's ok. And beans.

Ok, now I'm rambling. Anyway, I'd love to hear more ideas for iron rich meals to add to my repertoire!

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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:41 am 
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lepelaar, have you ever tried kale in soup? I like making a kale lentil soup. Basically, it is onions, carrots, garlic, celery, sometimes potatoes, kale, lentils, veg broth, seasonings (usually just thyme, salt, pepper, maybe red pepper flakes) and then I squeeze some lemon in if I've got it. Between the kale and lentils, you'd have some good iron going on.

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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:05 am 
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I add dried thyme to everything.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:08 am 
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I do green smoothies. I love that the recipes in 365 Vegan Smoothies lists the iron.

If you are chronically that low though, it may not really matter what you eat unless your diet is deficient. I'm in that boat. I can eat iron foods all day and night and it doesn't much help.

Smoothie once suggested nettle tea to me, and I did find that when my levels were stablish, it helped me maintain a bit. When I'm able to take supplements and just need to maintain, I like Floradix. Some have honey, but one doesn't. It's the easiest of all the supplements I've tried to tolerate.

Good luck! Being that low is not fun. I had infusions last spring, but am getting very low again because I can't take the supplements due to my ulcer/internal bleeding.

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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:15 am 
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I recently discovered that pumpkin seeds are a really good source, so if you make a mac and cheese type thing you could use those in place of cashews/sunflower seeds?

I also like to make health-shake type things with oats, blackstrap molasses, dried apricots, lemon juice, flax seeds, cinnamon and ginger. Probably a bit of an acquired taste, but easy to play around with.

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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:22 am 
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dakini wrote:
lepelaar, have you ever tried kale in soup? I like making a kale lentil soup. Basically, it is onions, carrots, garlic, celery, sometimes potatoes, kale, lentils, veg broth, seasonings (usually just thyme, salt, pepper, maybe red pepper flakes) and then I squeeze some lemon in if I've got it. Between the kale and lentils, you'd have some good iron going on.


Ooh, now that sounds like a kale recipe I could get behind. And the squeeze of lemon juice would be a great way to add some vitamin C.

paperweight wrote:
I add dried thyme to everything.


I didn't know thyme was high in iron. I can't imagine that the amounts used to season recipes would really make a dent.

Lavawitch, I'm not much of a smoothie person, I must confess. (The food, not the PPKer who seems awesome!) Yeah, I'm pretty sure my deficiency is down to my ridiculously heavy periods due to fibroids. I always seem to respond well to prescription level supplements, so I don't think absorption is an issue, but a few months to a year after stopping supplementation, I'm depleted again. I feel like my diet is pretty iron rich to begin with (I love beans, tempeh, greens, tahini, etc.) but I guess I just want to make sure I'm not missing out on ways to get it or blocking absorption by combining it with the wrong things. (Part of me is worried because the GP said something to my partner - who had called for the results on my behalf - about my not eating the right foods as a vegan, so I kind of want to be well-armed if the discussion comes up. I'm worried he's going to try to talk me into eating animal products.)

ETA: Dropscone, I only saw your post after I posted! That drink definitely sounds like an acquired taste but I may have to give the pumpkin seed mac a try. Do the seeds get creamy?

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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:41 am 
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baked goods with blackstrap molasses

cook in a cast iron pan

recipes with dark leafy greens. Isa Does It seems to have kale in every recipe so that would be a good place to start.
i think collards have a lot of iron too and the black eyed peas and collards (hottie black eyed peas i think its called?) from AFR is really good.

i think someone said lentils have iron? the lotsa lentil soup from AFR is soooo good. i thought it was going to be really bland but its SO flavorful

if taking an iron supplement be careful when taking it.
dont take it with a calcium supplement at the same time or at the same time as a multi vitamin. i take an iron supplement a few times a week and i take my regular vitamins in the morning and then my iron one later in the day. also i make sure i havent just drank a buttload of coffee or am about to drink coffee as i think that hinders absorption.

like someone said drink some OJ with it or have something with vit C in it. just dont do what i did and drink OJ fortified with calcium at the same time :-P

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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:49 am 
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The USDA nutrient database says that one teaspoon of dried thyme has a little more than 1 mg of iron. I usually add a bunch directly to my plate vs just using recipes that contain it. I tracked once and I got an extra 4 mg in a day. (Yeah, I reaaally like the stuff and go through a ton of it.) I don't know how absorbable the iron in thyme is and haven't been able to find a good answer, but I think of it as extra insurance anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:53 am 
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Wow, that's a lot of thyme. I'd be more likely to use 1 tsp for an entire recipe, which wouldn't really make any difference.


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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:53 am 
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If you are depleted after stopping, you may always need some supplement along with tracking it in your diet. I can always feel a dip in my iron when I get my periods plus I sometimes tart craving ice for that couple days. This is where the smoothies come in handy.

The pumpkin seed idea is a good one. One of my favorite period smoothies is blueberries and pumpkin seeds, with kale. I add a couple dates too.

Even if you aren't a smoothie person, maybe consider giving it a try. I've never been big into them either, but started getting the habit over the summer and now enjoy how they make me feel. You can pack 20-30% of recommended daily iron into an 8oz smoothie.

Managing iron levels is the worst. So stressful.

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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:04 pm 
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lepelaar wrote:
ETA: Dropscone, I only saw your post after I posted! That drink definitely sounds like an acquired taste but I may have to give the pumpkin seed mac a try. Do the seeds get creamy?

I have to confess I've never actually tried them in that kind of recipe, but I probably have most or all of the ingredients to give it a try tomorrow and report back! Another tasty way to eat them is coated in soya sauce and spices then oven baked for a snack, and they're nice in flapjacks too.

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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:08 pm 
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Pumpkin seeds don't get as creamy as sunflower seeds, but still makes a tasty sauce. I can't remember where I had a pepita sauce. I feel like it was an Isa recipe.

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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:55 pm 
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Thyme is used nearly like a green in some Middle Eastern recipes. Think Za'atar! Its a large amount of thyme sprinkled on a tasty toasty! And the sumac will have a bunch of vitamin c!

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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:02 pm 
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dropscone wrote:
lepelaar wrote:
ETA: Dropscone, I only saw your post after I posted! That drink definitely sounds like an acquired taste but I may have to give the pumpkin seed mac a try. Do the seeds get creamy?

I have to confess I've never actually tried them in that kind of recipe, but I probably have most or all of the ingredients to give it a try tomorrow and report back! Another tasty way to eat them is coated in soya sauce and spices then oven baked for a snack, and they're nice in flapjacks too.


You can also make pumpkin seed milk:
http://seitanismymotor.com/2011/06/stra ... seed-milk/
I would reduce the soy milk and use more seeds for a version that has more iron.

Pumpkin seed cream cheese (as a pie filling), plus extra tofu which also is a good iron source:
http://seitanismymotor.com/2010/08/zucc ... am-cheese/

Rye bread with pumpkin seeds is also a good source of iron:
http://seitanismymotor.com/2010/02/100- ... rye-bread/


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 Post subject: Re: Iron rich recipes
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:14 pm 
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Dried apricots are high in iron too. I like to eat them as snacks and add them to recipes.

Do you have 'rinse appelstroop' in Belgium? It's made from cooked down beetroot and apple juice. The beetroot juice is very high in iron. It's sweeter than molasses. I add it to oatmeal and eat it on toast.

Roasted pumpkin seeds are great for snacking and in salads. Some health food stores sell pumpkin seed butter that makes a good sub for peanut butter.

Cashews are actually pretty high in iron too, so cashew cream is a good choice for sauces.

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