I finished Marilynne Robinson's Gilead last night at 4 AM. It is an incredible book and has bumped Jane Mendelsohn's I Was Amelia Earhart out of my top 10 list (sorry Jane, but you've been there a good long time). I know what I'll be giving everyone as a gift for birthdays and Christmas this year! In an uncharacteristic burst of generosity, I'm even going to make sure I return my copy to the library today so that the next person on the reserve list gets the pleasure of reading this book that much sooner.
I feel breathless from reading such beautiful prose, but I'm also breathless for another reason: last night during my terrific Cardio Karate class I almost passed out which means I'm anemic again. Why is it that I can make sure my kids take their multi-vitamin daily, but can't get myself to regularly pop my prescription iron pills? Maybe if my iron pills were in the shapes of lions and hippos it would be more fun. On the positive side, Ian had a great time talking to me about my predicament since he prefers discussing red blood cells and the process of oxygen distribution to a normal bedtime story.
So I have a challenge for you all: send me your iron-rich culinary ideas. I'll be making a special trip to the store today to get a big old steak for dinner tonight, but we really aren't the biggest beef fans, so that will only cover one day. I was going to serve it with kale but then read that kale is actually an iron absorption inhibitor. For the same reason, I can't have red wine with it which really stinks as I have an opened bottle of nice Coppola Rossa that needs to be consumed. I guess Brian will get it. According to the chart I can drink white wine with my steak--blech.
Here is a list of foods that I'm willing to eat (sorry, no liver) that I should incorporate into the meal plan: Clams, Oysters, Mussels, Cooked beans and lentils, Pumpkin seeds, Blackstrap Molasses, Beef, Shrimp, Turkey, Baked potato with skin
Here are the iron absorption enhancers:
Orange, Orange Juice, Cantaloupe, Strawberries, Grapefruit, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Tomato, Tomato juice, Potato, Green & red peppers, White wine
And here's the super sucky list of the stuff I shouldn't eat with the above since it will render the iron useless:
Red Wine, Coffee & Tea, Spinach, Chard, Beet greens, Rhubarb, Sweet potato, Whole grains and bran, Soy products
The exasperating thing is trying to come up with any sort of complex recipe. Yea, I could just eat steak, broccoli and baked potato with skin for a week, but I'd go crazy. It seems that most of the recipes I have for foods in the first list require something in the last list (no bran muffins with molasses, no sweet potato in the dal, no brown rice with the beans). And since when did spinach become an iron inhibitor? Was Popeye completely wrong?
If any of the iron-rich ingredients trigger a terrific recipe in your head, please share it with me! My blood will thank you.