That moment in pregnancy when you feel like you’ve been hit by a steam train. You’re lying on the floor in a semi-conscious state trying to play with your toddler but dreading the prospect of getting up to make anyone any breakfast. Then the voices in your head start whispering – I thought you were going to workout today!? WORKOUT!? I can’t even get up off the floor. Hang on, I think I have a cold and why on earth does my tongue hurt?
And then you wonder – is this normal?!?!
Nope. And no, you shouldn’t have to live like this, pregnant or not! After 3 weeks of this hell, I knew something wasn’t right.
First step is to ask your midwife, I did, and it went like this – “I am so crazy tired, is that normal?” “Oh yes, you’re pregnant, you’re growing a human, you need to rest!” To which I respond – “’Please pass that memo onto my toddler!”
And then 6 weeks later at the routine blood screening, “your iron levels are desperately low, how are you surviving the midwife asks!?” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? I’m not! I got my 18-month-old to dress me, feed me and bring me here!
And then comes the same conversation I’m sure every pregnant woman with low iron gets – you need to take a supplement of 100mg. And by the way, this is really going to hurt your stomach. Ok, sounds great, and how much can your body absorb, just 30mg! So why can’t I take the supplement with 30mg that won’t upset my stomach?
Let’s just skip all this, why can’t I just eat my iron levels up!? Apparently, you need to eat lots of meat. But I don’t eat meat. Well you can’t do it through vegetables alone.
You get the general idea after this shody conversational part of the blog post today!
So here I sit (I’m up off the floor), after extensive research and trial eating and time to pass, you can do it through vegetables, the fruit of the earth, alone! And I am here to tell you how!
Let me just explain quickly. Iron comes in two forms, heme (only found in animal products) and non-heme (only found in plants). Recommended daily intake is around 18mg per day (1) but there are a lot of factors taken into account here. Men and post-menopausal women require only 8mg and this rises to 27mg per day for those of us that find ourselves ‘with child’ (or knocked up if you prefer)! But, non-heme is unfortunately harder for the body to absorb so you need to make sure you are consuming plants with some vitamin C rich foods to help with the absorption (2). Also, avoid drinking tea and coffee with your meals as this can hinder absorption from 50-90% (3).
What people don’t know is that these plants are crazy powerful, I won’t go crazy with loads of examples, but here’s one for fun. 100grams of spinach contains 1.1 times more iron than the same amount of red meat and 2.2 times same amount of salmon (4).
Here is what you have been waiting for. These are the beauties that are iron rich:
For all you plant eaters out there, this should be a solid list for you to get your teeth into. And good luck, don’t suffer on the floor in silence – reach for the broccoli and you’ll be golden! Have a look at my Instagram or facebook @gotvitality for recipe inspiration and I promise to pack in a lot of iron!
Have a happy and healthy day!
Do you ever ask yourself after something’s happened, like a good workout or a successful business meeting or a tough day or an argument, ‘I’ll treat myself to something naughty…..’ (insert your vice here!)
I found myself a while back saying, now I’ve just done that huge workout, I’m going to treat myself to a bag of skittles!?! How crazy is that. I am going to ‘treat’ my dear body, that I’ve just put through all sorts of paces in the gym, to a bag full of highly processed sugar, e-numbers and a host of other chemicals it has absolutely no idea how to digest! Alongside that, my current endorphin kick will get a little higher with the sugar kick and then I’ll crash so hard I’ll hate everyone insight unless they provide me with more chemicals to get me back high!
Sounds like an addict if you ask me….
I sought out help. From my fridge! And I want to give you a few little super quick tricks I learnt along the way to satisfy my desire for a ‘treat’ but one’s that are nutrient dense and good for my soul:
As an ex-sugar addict, I feel your pain and I am right here for you if you need additional support, recipe inspiration or just a shoulder to cry on. If you can try those 3 simple suggestions above you are well on your way to ‘treating’ your body to everything in needs and deserves to be is happiest and healthiest self, all for you to enjoy.
My next workshop is on Superfoods to help you live a life full of energy without having to reach for the highly processed, chemically pumped treats available on shelves! All details are on my facebook page @gotvitalitystockholm! And do check in for sweet treat recipe inspiration and I promise to pack in nutrients!
Have a happy and healthy day!
Kirsty Lewis, founder of Got Vitality, IIN Health Coach, Pre/Post Natal Personal Trainer and mum to a little boy toddler with another monster cooking in the oven!