Before I became a vegan, I never really put much thought into getting the proper amount of vitamins and minerals. When I was struggling with an eating disorder, I would restrict my calories to an unhealthy level, exercise intensely 7 days a week, and eat mostly processed ‘fat-free’ foods. When my body couldn’t take the starvation any longer, I binged on sugary processed junk food, often consuming 2,000-2,500 calories in a single sitting. Round and round the emotional rollercoaster went for years.
Not surprisingly, aside from being miserable, I also suffered from vitamin deficiencies, including low iron levels. Deep down I was concerned that I was harming my body, but I was so caught in the disorder I didn’t feel like I could change. I also felt like being a certain size or weight was much more important than being healthy.
Boy, how things can change.
Slowly but surely I turned a new page in my life, by renewing my focus on my health and decreasing my focus on my weight. I took all that negative energy and flipped it into something positive.
These days I don’t care much about calories, but I do care about eating quality food and getting proper nutrients.
These days I don’t care about the number on the scale, but I do want to feel in shape and fit into my clothes.
These days I don’t care if something is fat-free, sugar-free, or low-carb, but I do care if it makes me feel good when I eat it.
These days I don’t care if every day is the picture of perfect health, but I do strive for an overall balance in the “big picture”.
These days, I’m a whole lot happier than I used to be.
And those vitamin levels? Right where they should be.
Iron Woman Gingerbread Smoothie
As women, we’re about twice as likely to suffer from iron deficiency as compared to men. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you’re even more likely to suffer from an iron deficiency at some point in your life, especially because plant-based sources of iron are more difficult to absorb than animal-based sources. This gingerbread smoothie is packed with blackstrap molasses which is a wonderful vegan source of iron. One tablespoon has 3.5 mg of iron and I like to sneak in two tablespoons into this smoothie. Add in some chia seeds and you will up your iron even more. Just be sure to take iron-rich foods with Vitamin C to help increase the iron’s absorption.
Adapted from my Gingerbread Vegan Overnight Oats.
- 1 cup non-dairy milk (I use Vanilla Almond Milk)
- 1-2 tbsp blackstrap molasses (I use 2, but add to taste as it’s strong)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 tbsp chia seeds (also high in iron!)
- 2 ice cubes
- Peanut Butter Graham crackers + coconut, for garnish (optional)
Place all ingredients except for molasses into the blender and blend until smooth. Now add the molasses, a bit at a time, to taste. You may find that you only want 1 tbsp of molasses or maybe 2 tbsp if you like the flavour like I do. Serves 1.
Blackstrap molasses is one of my favourite vegan iron sources! And so fitting for September 1st.
In two tablespoons of molasses you get a powerhouse of iron and other nutrients:
- 7 mg of iron
- Approx 350 mg calcium (more than a glass of cow’s milk!)
- Over 1000 mg potassium
- As well as Vitamin B6, magnesium, copper and more
For more info about molasses, check out World’s Healthiest Foods.
I LOVE this smoothie. It tasted like a big bowl of gingerbread, much like my Gingerbread Vegan Overnight Oats.
Be sure to enjoy this smoothie (and other iron rich foods) with Vitamin C to help the iron absorb and also avoid consuming it with caffeine which decreases the absorption. Other iron-rich foods include whole grains, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, dried herbs, lentils, cooked spinach, tofu, beans, dried apricots, cocoa powder, etc. It is generally recommended that adult females need between 15-18 mg of Iron per day, but everyone’s needs will differ depending on activity level, menstruation, and other factors.
I told Eric how much iron was in this smoothie and he said, “That’s good, but does it taste like motor oil?”
I almost spit the smoothie across the room from laughing. Oh brother.
Lululemon Giveaway Winner!
The winner of my $50 Lululemon giveaway is…#293- Danielle!! She wrote, “Love your blog, you’re too kind with the giveaways!”
Congrats! I emailed you this morning to collect your shipping info. :)