The iron have me so bazodee…literally!

Morning!

My heading is the lyrics from a song about steelpan music: the “iron” is the steelpan music and “bazodee” means overwhelmed, confused, dazed in Trinidadian. Now, the original song was about enjoying steelpan music, but my heading means that my actual iron levels are low and I am literally overwhelmed, confused and dazed.

A few weeks ago, I collapsed in the washroom. I passed out for a few minutes and when I woke up, I had twisted my ankle and bitten through my lower lip. After getting bloodwork done and going through the agonizing twenty four hours after being told I had to come in to discuss the results and when I actually met with the doctor, I was told that there was virtually no iron in my blood. Sigh.

As a vegetarian, we’re always reminded that we need to keep up our protein. I do try to include protein in every meal and those close to me know that I’m always lecturing about protein in meals. Somewhere along the line, I guess I lost sight of the iron part of things. The doctor met with me and discussed the levels and while he didn’t try to make me start eating meat again, he did ask me a few times if I would consider eating meat, “not that I want to judge your lifestyle”. Hmmmm…

I can’t actually fathom chewing on and swallowing a piece of chicken or bacon on salmon. I actually can’t. Now I know the body is resilient and if I wanted to, I probably could actually do it, but the reality is that I’m not going to. The fact remains that I have been a vegetarian since high school and can’t go back now. If I can incubate a human and take care of two of us on this diet, I can surely take care of myself, right?

So like the lactose intolerant revelation a few months ago, now there’s this bombshell. I mean, seriously? Does my body want me to eat nothing at all? Sigh. To add insult to injury, since last year, I have given up juice and pop and have stuck to drinking only water and tea: I go through a cup of orange pekoe in the morning, 750 ml a day of green tea at my desk at work and then I drink unsweetened homemade iced tea at home (that I brew myself) and on doing my iron absorption research, I’ve come to find out that properties in tea (tannins) inhibit iron absorption. Here’s the kicker: tannins only affect iron absorption in iron found in non-meat sources. So essentially, because of the all-day tea drinking, my body has not been able to absorb any iron I’ve been consuming. What the f….annoying!

So now what? Now what do I do? I fear I might have to become those meal-planning, own-food-bringing, nutritional-content-scrutinizing people. I don’t have time for all of that! Can’t I just eat three beets and call it a day? I never want to reject food or bad talk food or shun food. I like to eat!! I have been doing research and my loved ones have been providing a lot of information and advice for me to consider, so that’s good, but I still can’t be bothered! hahahaha…I’m kidding.

Over the last three days, I’ve had to make changes. I have to take my iron supplements twice a day with food, but not with dairy (since that inhibits absorption) and try to have it with Vitamin C (which helps absorption), but after one hour of having tea, which affects absorption. It’s like an algebra formula! I just want to eat!!!!

Okay, enough with the whining.

I’m not invincible and despite how free-wheeling I want to live my life, diligence and organization is necessary. The amount of attention my body needs is growing and so to be healthy, I have to make a concentrated effort. No more fainting spells and low energy because I have my life to live. I have a son to raise and a job and a boyfriend and hobbies and this blog and my family and my Fitbit to keep busy. I don’t have time to have low iron!!! Right now, I have to work hard to get the iron levels UP and then maintained! That will take some effort, but pretty soon, it’ll be automatic and my body will be happier and I will be happier. This low iron thing is not going to keep me bazodee!

So on I go, one meal at a time.

Have a good week!

Vikera

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I don’t hate food. So what?

I don’t hate food. I just don’t. I enjoy eating and tasting food. My only restriction is if there’s meat or horseradish in it, not if it’s overloaded with calories or gluten or whatever else.”

Maybe it’s a cultural thing, and I suspect for a large part it is, but I’ve always had a healthy appetite. I enjoy eating. In the Trinidadian culture, an abundance of food is a sign of wealth and health. People often show off at weddings, not by the venue or the music, but by the spread of food presented. When someone comes over to your house, you offer food even if you live in a one-room home. Food is a good thing. Being a good cook is a high ranking skill in our culture. Being a vegetarian in a BIG carnivore culture was often met with disapproval because when I would visit others’ homes, they felt like they wouldn’t be able to feed me, which meant they were a failure as a host/hostess. Food is serious business in Trinidad.

Food is serious business here in Vancouver too, but not in the same way. How many times would you go somewhere and hear people beg off an offer of food because “I’m watching my figure,” or “I’m on a cleanse,” or my most hated, “I shouldn’t.” Okay, I get it. People want to lose weight and be healthy and be fit, I get it. I really do, but when did EVERYBODY stop enjoying food? Why ‘shouldn’t’ you eat food unless you’re allergic to something or you’re already full?

Let me ask you a question? When did rice become a bad thing? Remember when it was called “a staple” like flour and sugar and pasta and milk? None of which are welcome anymore, by the way.

[I want to apologize if I’m sounding sarcastic, but I just can’t help it. The volcano has erupted. I can’t control how the lava spews.]

I often go to potlucks and when you have treats and other stuff, it’s left untouched. Even if it is touched, there has to be a ten-minute preface about how bad it is and a spiel about weight-loss or calories. Do you know in Trinidad, there are things that we buy and eat and we don’t know where it was prepared, let alone what’s in it? Heck, doubles, which is pretty much our national food, is a kind of fried bread and people eat that all the time without batting an eyelash.

I feel like food should not be something that has to be apologized for before eating. Remember the good ole days when you said Grace Before Meals, giving thanks for the food. Now it’s the opposite. Now we have the Preface Before Meals. You don’t have to be religious to be thankful that you have food to eat, but maybe that’s what it is. Here in North America, having food is a given, so no big deal there, so something else needs to be said, I suppose.

There are days when I eat that I feel grateful to have that meal. When I prepare a great meal and Kidlet and I polish it off and go back for seconds, I feel grateful and happy. When he eats and he tells me he’s too full because of food I’ve prepared, I’m happy. What scares me is that, despite how I actually feel, I find myself saying things sometimes that I know I don’t believe. The subtly negative attitude towards food is starting to rub off on me slowly. I will try to make a genuine effort to resist it though. I’ll continue to drink my full fat milk and white rice and all the desserts I can get my grubby hands on and I won’t apologize for it.

V

p.s. I don’t think I’ve finished ranting about this yet…..