So, I had a very different post planned for today.
Last Thursday, Canadian Blood Services was at Laurier Brantford for a blood drive. I’ve never able to donate before, but I feel that it’s one of those things that everyone should do if they are able. It’s so, so important and saves so many lives.
My plan was to donate on Thursday, then write today’s post on how my eating disorder past does not prevent me from being strong and healthy enough to help someone who’s in need of a blood transfusion.
But when I went to donate, I found out that I’m currently unable to do so – when they tested my hemoglobin, they told me they wouldn’t be able to let me donate because my iron count is too low.
There are no words for how disappointed I was. When I was first of a legal age to donate, I wasn’t able to (I was getting a lot of piercings/tattoos at the time, so I rarely reached the 6 month limit they put on piercings/tattoos and donations) and of course, I never would have met the weight or the iron requirement when I was anorexic. I was looking forward to finally being able to contribute to an important cause, but I can’t yet.
I find this incredibly frustrating – I feel like I am recovered from my eating disorder, but apparently my body is still not as healthy as it should be. This did come as a surprise to me; I’ve never had any symptoms to suggest that I had an iron deficiency (although, this may explain why I have thin hair and brittle nails).
So where is my freEDom in this post? My attitude. I’m disappointed, but I have plans to try again in February, with adjustments to my diet in order to reach the minimum level required. My eating disorder has taken so much from me in the past; I refuse to let it take away my chance to help someone who needs it.
So, I will be making a couple of diet changes. While I eat a lot of poultry and eggs, I don’t eat a lot of red meat – so that will be introduced into the plan at least once a week (when I told Eric we’d be eating more beef and steak, he wasn’t exactly disappointed).
I’ve been doing my research on iron-rich foods, and these are some of the foods that have been recommended:
- organ meats (not going to lie, that’s probably not going to happen)
- crab and shrimp
- black beans
- kidney beans
- pumpkin seeds
- acorn squash (yay! I love any excuse for squash)
- fortified cereal, oatmeal and bread
- egg yolks (good thing I’ve never been afraid of the yolk)
- blackstrap molasses
- foods high in vitamin c to increase absorption
So I’ll be making sure to try and include at least a couple of iron-rich foods daily. This coming weekend, I’m also going to look for an iron-rich multivitamin. I take calcium and fish oil daily, but I ran out of multivitamins a few months ago and never bothered to pick up more – guess this is a sign I shouldn’t have stopped!
So again, my freEDom = not letting the residual effects of my eating disorder stop me from helping the people I want to help. Come February, I will be first in line at the clinic to try again.
<— Have you ever donated blood?
<— Do you worry about your iron levels?
*all images link to sources.