Better With Sprinkles

The Colourful Side to Healthy Living.

freEDom: Adjust and Continue.


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)
  • turkey
  • crab and shrimp
  • black beans
  • kidney beans
  • pumpkin seeds
  • spinach
  • acorn squash (yay! I love any excuse for squash)
  • raisins
  • 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. Smile

<— Have you ever donated blood?

<— Do you worry about your iron levels?


*all images link to sources.


26 thoughts on “freEDom: Adjust and Continue.

  1. I always knew I couldn’t donate because of my weight, I never even though about my iron! I don’t eat red meat (mostly for environmental reasons) and I’ve never actually liked it, but I always just assumed I was fine. That might be something I go get checked out now. Thanks for the inspiration! And I truly admire you for wanting to do something so selfless. Needles TERRIFY me, but I hope to donate blood one day anyway.

    • Thanks Devon! And I think it’s definitely worth getting checked out – if it’s low, you can always take an iron supplement as opposed to eating red meat! (plus poultry, shellfish, nuts and seeds are all good sources too)

  2. This is awesome, hun 🙂 I LOVE how you are determined to turn something that could have been taken negatively into a positive! And I think it’s AMAZING that you’re willing to take the steps necessary for it to happen! That’s huge 🙂 I don’t eat a ton of red meat either…usually only when the boy is home…but it is something I would like to work more into my regular diet. Time to look into donating blood, too…I haven’t been able to in years, either, and that’s not ok. Thanks for the thoughts on more than one level 🙂

  3. SO proud to hear that you didn’t let this iron deficiency get you down! Instead you are setting goals to get you to where you want to be. You’re a true warrior and behaving just as I imagine a recovered person would! Doing what’s best for you to be healthy! Very inspirational, Sam 🙂 I have never given blood but in a sad sense I feel like I could now because I am used to getting blood drawn for tests I had to undergo often when I first entered and was in early stages of recovery. I’d almost say I’m used to it by now. Yes a bummer that ED caused that but I can turn around and give blood to others because I’m no longer afraid of the needles!

  4. that is frustrating, I know a big step for me was donating because I was for the first time at a healthy weight. that was like a big highlight. I hope these diet changes help

  5. I don’t eat a lot of red meat, but I’ve been lucky to have good iron levels. I do try to donate at least once a year. My dad had cancer and received blood and platelets on the regular – giving back in that way is really important to me.

  6. I commend you for donating blood! 🙂

    I can’t do it because I pass out even before the needle goes in. Eww… gives me the eebie jeebies.

  7. Aw, I’m sorry to hear you couldn’t donate. It’s a frustrating thing when you want to help out but your past is preventing you from it. I have naturally low iron so I can’t donate anyways, but hopefully with a little work you will be able to!

  8. I really commend you for making these conscious changes in your life style so you can donate blood and help people. I also have never met the requirements to donate blood, but I’m pretty sure I would be able to now (unless some unexpected thing was wrong like what happened to you). I can’t even be near a needle without fainting, though, so I am not sure I will do it in the near future.

  9. I can totally relate to this! Its so similar to what I’ve been going through with HA recently. Like I’m doing all the right things but my body isn’t cooperating. I love your attitude, and your willingness to make such conscious changes. I’m so inspired right now! I can’t for February!

  10. Aww girl… sorry things didn’t work out with donating blood, but I bet that all the changes you’re making will let you do it in no time. I can definitely relate to feeling frustrated with your body for not being where you think it should be in terms of recovery, but an ED takes a huge toll on the body and it needs time to normalize and get everything back to good. I know that being patient sucks, but just try and focus on the improvements you’ve made instead of the ones you still have to make… those will come with time!

  11. Some grass fed burgers will get that iron up 🙂

  12. I feel your disappointment, Sam. The last time I actually donated, I lied to them saying that I weighed the 110lbs. I didn’t, but I was decently close. I’m incredibly sad that I’m not able donate. It’s one of my big motivating factors for wanting to gain weight, actually. (Other than personal physical and mental strength and my relationships, etc — just an added factor.) My Grandfather donated every 3 months for 50 years. My Dad has donated every time possible (when not limited by tattoos) since I was born. It’s a big thing in my family, and it hurts me that I can’t be a part of that because of my ED.
    HUGE congrats on using your disappointment as a motivating factor to build a stronger and better you. I’m sure that in the past, you might have let it beat you up and get you down? You’re definitely an inspiration. Perhaps, if ever we should meet, we’ll be able to donate together. 😉 How cool would that be?!

    • It’s important to my family and to the boy’s; so I’m determined that I will donate!

      And absolutely, in the past I would have taken a “what’s the point? Clearly I’ll never be healthy” sort of approach and likely slid back into old habits.

      That would be awesome! I’m sure I’ll make it up to Ottawa or you’ll make it down here sometime! ❤

  13. Pingback: Rehashing November + Christmas Challenge. « Better With Sprinkles

  14. Pingback: It Tastes Like Christmas. « Better With Sprinkles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s