Friday, February 11, 2011

Is The Raw Food Diet Ruining My Health?

Last week I got blood work to see where I stood nutritionally. I've been eating a high raw and mostly vegan diet (FYI I occasionally eat eggs and raw goat and sheep cheese) for over 3 1/2 years and wanted to make sure all my levels were where they needed to be. So the results are in and there is good news and some bad news. First the good. My B12 is optimal! I've been so paranoid about being low that I use three different supplements. A sublingual tablet, a sublingual mouth spray and a transdermal patch. I use them once a week, not every day, mind you. Each dose contains about a weeks worth but I'm not taking any chances. B12 deficiencies can cause irreparable nerve damage so it's important to stay on top of it. Other good news, my vitamin D levels are great as are my lipids and white blood cells.

Now for the bad news... I'm borderline anemic. My red blood cells and ferritin levels are a bit low. A holistic health counselor who reviewed my results recommended red meat, more sodium and good cholesterol. Apparently, he says he sees this in all of his vegetarian clients. The cholesterol part sort of threw me off as my lipids were perfect but I guess it was more precautionary. I did hear Gabriel Cousins say he gives coconut oil to his patients that have low cholesterol so I'm going to take a couple teaspoons a day just to see what happens. It's fast becoming my favorite supplement of the day. Yum!

As for eating red meat for iron, I'd rather try to correct this using a plant based approach first. What prompted me to get a blood test in the first place was that I had been feeling tired last month. I kept needing naps a few times a day. I figured it had to be either my thyroid, adrenals or anemia. I became anemic in high school when I tried to go vegetarian so I was pretty certain that's what it was. I believe the problem was that I had been drinking New Chapter Berry Greens every morning this past month and skipping my usual green juice (because I'm lazy). Vegetarians need a lot of chlorophyll to build the blood, so now I'm juicing loads of kale, parsley and Romaine lettuce along with 2 bunches of celery (for sodium) and a lemon (for vitamin C to help absorb the iron). I can already tell I'm doing much better by my energy levels.

I'm also adding more pumpkin seeds to my diet. They're rich in iron as well as zinc and magnesium. I made a delicious pate from soaked seeds, herbs and sea salt. I'll post the recipe in a few days. Also, sesame seeds are rich in iron as well, so I'm getting crazy with the tahini dressing. I noticed the Sun Warrior protein I've been taking has 20% of my DV so I have to be on the right track.

And just to seal the deal I'm going to pick up a bottle of Floradix. It's a vegetarian iron supplement. Anyone use it before? And are any other raw foodies out there suffering from anemia? What did you do to correct it? Would love to hear your experience.


Sarah Duncan said...

I've had a few blood test in the last few years which always seem to show that I have anemia. I take green juice every day and whole food veggie iron supplement seems to help me lots. However I don't ever seem to feel any affects from low iron x

Lauren said...

I am anemic because I have crohns, but I find eating nori, drinking nettles, lots of greens and seeds helps. I take a supplememt as well. For b12, I get a shot monthly. My old GI doc use to tell me to eat meat and I prooved him wrong by building my blood still being vegan! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

You are doing all the right things Dita. I don't think you'll need any meats at this point. The greens plus the seeds will give you the most. and when you do prepare your eggs, try it on an iron skillet. You can cook on it, or prepare it raw. point is, the micro fragments chipped away in the skillet prove useful in our diets. See links:

stay busy being awesome, Anthony, Aka; Nana!

Antony said...

A friend of mine was recently pregnant and kept high iron levels throughout from daily green smoothies

You are inspiring me to get my blood work checked

Judita said...

Thanks folks! I feel relieved that low iron isn't such a big deal and that I'm doing the right things.

bitt said...

I have low iron but not anemia. It's been too high before on a veggie diet, and some folks I know how low iron and eat meat. The doctor is trying to scare ya.

I got my iron levels up with shots before but I want to try to do it a little more naturally this time. I ordered some Angstrom iron that is supposed to absorb better. Floradix does not contain much iron so you will have to ask the doc how much to take. I can't take it due to gluten in it.

Anonymous said...

I have used floradix when I have heavy periods and it works great. Doesn't even make me feel sick on an empty stomach like the non-food based ones do. Several people I've talked to that were anemic used it with a lot of success.

Dawn said...

thanks for this post Judita, it is really helpful. I am due to ask my GP for a bloodwork run up tomorrow just to see how I am doing on my high raw diet.
I hope he is amenable to my request!
I came off my synthyroid 6 months ago as I upped my raw significantly and added in lots of super herbs and sea vegetables, so I am keen to know what is happening with my thyroid now.
I feel so much better, so here's hoping all is good. (although I know some blood results for thyroid can be misleading)

Love and faery sparkles
Amber Dawn xxx

k said...

yeah yeah the floridex I thinks is a great route. I remember the first time I took it and wowser it definitly pepped me up ... I should start including that in my diet again cuz there are times latley when I feel sluggish for no reason thanks for the post!!


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