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.