Thursday, April 28, 2005


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.


M said...

Not sure if this meets your criteria or not - but I love this recipe for it's simplicity, elegance, and lemony-garlicky-tomatoey goodness!

PS. feel free to substitute canned black beans for dried....

2 cups dried black turtle beans
8 cups water
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges (optional)

Soak the dried beans according to package directions. Cook the soaked bean in fresh water to cover for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tender. Drain the cooked beans and while they are still hot, toss with the olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in half of the tomatoes and parsley. Add additional lemon juice if required. Turn the mixture into a large serving bowl and top with the remaining chopped tomatoes and parsley. Garnish with lemon wedges and hard-boiled eggs. 6 servings.

freddyknits said...

- Beans, shrimp, tomatoes, and peppers are interesting in a n'awlens sort of way.

- A hearty shrimp stew with unpeeled potatoes and tomatoes..

- Clam chowder, & don't peel the potatoes.

(Sorry, I am more about concepts than recipes. Must be the ADD.)

Julie said...

Wow! That is shocking, SHOCKING news about the greens. At the beginning of the post I was thinking of a terrific kale recipe. Never mind. No wonder I had to take iron supplements during pregnancy. All those greens, wasted. Have you ever tried Floradix? It tastes great until your iron level comes back up. When it starts tasting bad, you can stop taking it.

Kate said...

Mmmm--the beans sound great. I just scrounged through the pantry and couldn't find any black beans so I think I'll try and hit the co-op today.

Lynne, do you have advice on how to keep shrimp from becoming rubbery when you cook them? I know I should add them at the end, but they still seem to take on the texture of one of my kids' toys.

Anonymous said...

Kate - I am a fellow anemic woman, too! Let's post your question on annarborfood and see what surfaces. I suggest taking a multivitamin every day (with iron), black strap molasses and I know you said you are not a big beef eater, but outside of liver, it's the biggest iron contributor you are going to get.


P.S. Thanks for the shout out about our yahoo group on your blog!

Anonymous said...

Kate, I can't believe a meat-lover like yourself would suffer anemia! And I'm just going to pretend I never heard that about spinach, sweet potatoes, and greens.

PS -- Iris digs her zebra.

Denise said...

When I was pregnant (and anemic), my dr gave me an iron-enhancing list that included bittersweet chocolate. She did tell me not to drink milk (!) with it, though, as dairy hinders iron absorbtion. Somehow I suffered through all that chocolate without dairy...but she also had spinach on that list...