I’m all about pumping iron lately and although I’m dealing with the lighter, food-derived version, it’s takes just about the same amount of concerted effort! I’ve had a history of anemia, so I wasn’t surprised when my G.P. prescribed me iron pills a few weeks ago. Dr. K, my lovely naturopath and fellow Lupie, is helping me focus on iron-rich foods so that the pill will be a temporary measure. She told me that she eats a lot of iron-rich sardines in her household, usually breading them out of the can, paired with a yummy dipping sauce. Growing up, my parents would add onions and spinach to a tomato sauce pack of sardines and serve it alongside one of my favourite comfort foods, a steaming bowl of white rice. I tried making it at home a few months back, but my adult palette was unable to stomach it or perhaps, it’s just one of those dishes that only taste good when Mom and Dad make it. So, when Dr. K suggested sardines as an optimal way to get my iron pumping, I was feeling like these little fish may not be the option for me. However, since one can of sardines makes up 20% of the recommended daily intake of iron, I couldn’t give up on the idea quite yet.
Determined not to be discouraged, I took to the internet and found an avocado and sardine sandwich recipe. Having only seen them eaten with rice, sardines on a sandwich or on crackers was a pretty foreign concept to me. The recipe also called for skinless, deboned sardines, which I had never tried. I’m a HUGE avocado fan, so I figured it was worth a try, especially since the recipe I found was inspired by one of my Food Network favourites, Alton Brown. As it turns out, the recipe is DELICIOUS, especially if you can get your hands on some freshly baked bread to make it with. Check out the recipe here. Not only is this sandwich an iron knock-out, but the avocado and sardine combo is saturated with Omega 3 goodness, not to mention the anti-inflammatory and brain benefits of avocado and fish oils. Oh, and did I mention it tasted good?
For more of a vegan spin on iron, check out this amazing looking and iron packed vegan sweet potato and black bean enchilada recipe from one of my favourite food blogs, Choosing Raw. It’s on the list to try, as well as integrating molasses into my baking and smoothies (15% of your recommended daily intake of iron per tablespoon) as recommended by Dr.K, and by Gena from Choosing Raw.
I have to note that I was very surprised to find that as a sufferer of Lupus, my naturopath was not a vegetarian or a vegan. From all that I have read on “healing ways of eating,” I just assumed she would be. I would say she’s pretty much an “almost vegetarian/vegan” that tailors her diet to the food sensitivities/allergies she has discovered (gluten, sugar, dairy, etc.). She recommends the anti-inflammatory benefits of deep sea, small fish that are low in mercury (like sardines). In fact, she has me taking a tablespoon of fish oil everyday. I’m still stumbling around with this whole “what the heck should I be eating” thing, but I think I’m calming down a bit from the “I need to know right NOW” mentality that I’ve had lately. The art of eating should be a life-long journey of yummy discovery and at this point in life, it’s a cleaner, more beneficial kind of yummy (I love you, but sorry, M & Ms) and my palette will surely change as I change. Today, I’m deep-sea fishing and tomorrow I might be up to my elbows in ancient grain goodness, but I’ll figure it out one spoonful at a time.