Hello again friends!
I’m back this week with something I’m super excited about — telling all you what is absolutely delicious in the produce section right now!
I’m also going to touch on boosting iron levels through our diet because 30% of the world is iron deficient (this is obviously an issue for everyone, not just vegetarians and vegans!) My family and I had been feeling less than our best, so we’ve been making a conscious effort to incorporate iron rich foods into our diet.
Finally, I’ll post a quick, yummy breakfast idea that is hearty and full of fiber, fruit and iron!
What’s good in produce this week:
Citrus is where it’s at! Blood oranges, lemonade lemons and kumquats are packed full of fun, tart flavors and beautiful colors. Navels are juicy and sweet, and grapefruit are at their peak, too.
We also got in passion fruit again and it’s incredibly sour and sweet! The tropical flavors are such a treat right now in the middle of winter (especially living in Iowa).
I’m also loving celeriac. It’s related to celery, but much more flavorful and adds quite the punch to savory dishes. (Shout out to Betsy for the suggestion!)
Greens are great this time of year as well. It may seem counter intuitive, but eating a really big salad full of leafy greens, beans, roasted veggies and a delicious homemade dressing can really boost your mood and make you feel more vibrant.
Boosting iron levels:
After randomly reading an article about the signs of iron deficiency, it sounded exactly like what my husband and I had been experiencing recently. Symptoms include feeling tired all the time, having trouble catching your breath and more (click here to read about all the symptoms).
30% of the world population deals with some form of iron deficiency. That’s mind blowing! And it’s not just a vegan/vegetarian issue (although it can be for many of us if we don’t mindfully eat a well rounded diet). It seems to be an absorption issue on top of lacking iron-rich foods in our diet.
Yes, many doctors will tell their patients to eat more full fat dairy products or red meat because heme iron is more readily absorbed by our bodies. But, that comes with an increase in saturated fats and cholesterol. Or you may have cut out animal products for other personal reasons.
So, my veggie loving friends, if you’re looking to increase your iron intake through food, here’s a list of super foods we’ve been incorporating into our diet this week to boost our iron levels!
(Side note: supplements can help, but taking too much iron can actually damage your body or lead to death, so be sure to get a blood test done to confirm you have an iron deficiency before taking supplements).
1. Pumpkin Seeds — this is one of the ultimate iron-rich plant food you can consume. Compared to a steak, pumpkin seeds have 5 more grams of protein and 4x as much iron per 100 grams. That’s pretty amazing! I’ve been putting these in our morning oatmeal (recipe below), but they’re also delicious roasted with olive oil and salt and added to salads.
2. Flax Seeds — ground flax is easy to add into baked goods such as vegan banana bread (try this delightful recipe from Oh She Glows — I’ve been making a loaf once a week and it’s always a hit!) You can also make a “flax egg” in place of eggs in recipes for pancakes, brownies or cakes. To learn how to make a flax egg (it’s super easy) click here!
4. Hemp Hearts — these little power houses contain 70% more iron than chia and flax seeds! They’re great sprinkled on avocado toast or added to smoothies or hearty salads!
5. Oats — Steel cut oats or rolled oats are hearty, filling and contain nearly 20% of your RDI (recommended daily intake) of iron. For a tasty breakfast oatmeal recipe, keep scrolling!
There are lots more vegan iron sources you can incorporate into your diet. For more ideas, read through this helpful list!
Okay! Onto the breakfast recipe we’ve had every morning for the last 4 days (and will most likely continue into the future).
I love that oatmeal is easy to make and is incredibly versatile. It’s also been the perfect way to set our day up to increase our iron levels.
- Oats (I prefer steel cut oats as they're heartier but feel free to use your favorite kind of oats!)
- 1 Tbsp flax seeds
- 1 Tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup frozen dark cherries
- 1/4 cup dried or frozen wild blueberries
- juice from one orange*
- 1/2 cup of homemade applesauce** (check out my last post called Instant Pot Applesauce for the recipe!)
- Bring water to boil in small pan on the stove (amount of water will depend on how much oatmeal you make)
- When water is boiling, add oats, stir and turn down heat to a low simmer. Add a lid and let it sit, stirring every few minutes until the oatmeal is to your desired consistency.
- Add all ingredients, stir and enjoy!
- *Make sure to add citrus to your oatmeal, as the vitamin C in citrus helps the body to absorb iron more easily!
- **Totally optional, but definitely a wonderful addition!