What I learnt from becoming anemic

September 2012.

I paused to catch my breath. Even the simplest thing felt tedious. I was amazed at how much more effort it took me to do just about anything.

My laptop was all packed up for vacation a couple months too early. She’d just shut down at will for the sake of of a break. My charger was dead again. Didn’t I just buy a new one 2 weeks ago? By now I’d gone through 2 chargers and a tune up that dipped into my fleeting bank account – and without avail.

My cellphone soon followed suit.

Getting from the office to my car felt like a expedition up K2. My hair was falling out … and no ammount of coffee or sugar was getting me throughout the day.

And on that note, my body would explode at the intake of certain foods and drinks. Coffee soon became my enemy, and Coca Cola became my new short lived fling. Strawberries and anything trying to be a strawberry-flavoured-substitute popped ache all over my face. My beloved relationship with dairy became rocky fast.

I even remember almost passing out at a NIA class while we were still warming up.Something was clearly wrong and I needed to change my life around.

I booked an appointment with the most amazing GP in the world, Dr Cleveland, and after a couple of test we discovered that I was anemic. Not the end of the world, but something I needed to work “on”.At least that’s how I saw it then. A year later and things are shifting, but not hundreds yet. I’ve moved from working on it to with it. It’s actually being a great lesson.

So why am I telling you all this.

1. Maybe you’re anemic too … If so, I think you’ll find some of these tidbits really useful.


Factors which Affect Iron Absorption and Retention

  • The most important factor is your existing iron level. A low iron level will increase absorption, while a high iron level will decrease absorption. In general, you absorb 10-15% of the iron from foods.2
  • Meat proteins will increase the absorption of nonheme iron.2
  • Vitamin C will increase the absorption of nonheme iron by as much as 85%.2,3
  • Tannins, oxalates, polyphenols, and phytates found in tea and coffee can reduce the absorption of non-heme iron by up to 65%. Black tea reduces absorption more than green tea and coffee.2,3,4
  • The following teas and beverages also inhibit iron absorption: Peppermint tea, cocoa, vervain, lime flower, chamomile, and most other herbal teas with polyphenols.4
  • Calcium, polyphenols, and phytates found in legumes, whole grains, and chocolate can reduce absorption of nonheme iron.
  • Some protein from soy products may inhibit nonheme iron absorption.2
  • Calcium, milk, and antacids can inhibit absorption of iron supplements.5
  • High fiber foods, such as whole grains, raw vegetables, and bran can inhibit absorption of iron supplements.5
  • Foods or drinks with caffeine can inhibit absorption of iron supplements.5

Read more at http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/food-sources-of-iron.php#y5TP2eIkiDLCgQ7H.99


2. It’s a lesson in CAN.

  • Have you ever quit smoking – even if it as just a couple of months?
  • Have you ever put yourself on a diet and completed it?
  • Have you ever got up early to train for a marathon ?
  • Have you ever learnt to love something you always hated ?
  • Have you ever done anything that’s pushed you out of your norm?

There are so many things we tell ourselves we can’t do. It’s impossible. However, there have been countless times in your life where you not only shifted your actions, but you shifted your thoughts and you created a whole new way of doing things.

  • Maybe it’s quitting smoking for real?
  • Maybe it’s actually going to the gym?
  • Maybe it’s discovering that spinach is actually pretty damn tasty?
  • Maybe it’s whatever. There’s always something. Whatever that is for you I just want you to give yourself the space to admire the feat.

It might seem small and insignificant right now, but you actually did something amazing. You dropped the can’t, changed your thoughts, and changed your actions. Chances are, you’ve done this more than once too!

I remember craving chocolate and letting myself have a piece. Sometimes I spat it out right there and then realizing I tricked myself. Once I went with it and suffered for it. I could continue to choose to
indulge this habit (even with just the smallest piece) but I knew that the only person I was cheating was myself. I choose to be my number one fan, and dropped the idea of going to war with myself.

I know that eating chocolate isn’t going to kill me, but it’s not going to make feel good either. If I can do that with a piece of chocolate … then I could do that with anything that wasn’t helping
me be awesome. (my failure formula)

You don’t need to have a near death experience to wake up and make the right choice. You just need to let go of what doesn’t work for you.
Drop whatever doesn’t serve you – keep whatever does. It’s a choice. It’s your choice!

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