Since I've had all of these problems with dizziness, I've really tried to get a handle on my anemia. The doctor said that though I am anemic, he doesn't think it's the culprit that's causing all the dizziness. However, getting more iron into my body might help to alleviate some of it and it might help to make me feel better overall. I hate taking any kind of pills or drugs, vitamins included, so I don't want to take iron supplements. I already take multivitamins and B-12 supplements and I can barely remember to take those. My solution to iron deficiency is to make a conscious effort to incorporate more iron into my body naturally by eating iron rich foods. I know that there are two types of iron our body needs: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron comes from meat and is absorbed very easily by the body. The problem is I'm vegan so I'm lacking heme iron. As for non-heme iron, it is found in vegetable form but it needs vitamin c in order to be absorbed by the body. Though I do eat many foods that contain non-heme iron, and though I do get plenty of vitamin c, for the last few days I've been consciously eating more iron rich foods than I might normally eat, or at least in higher quantities. In order to do this, I've been loosely following a meal plan. Here are some of the iron rich foods I am making an effort to eat more of:
Soybeans, Black-Eyed Peas, Barley, Tofu, Lentils, Chickpeas, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Raisins, Spinach, Broccoli, Bok Choy.
Though I already enjoy all of these foods and eat them regularly, I am trying to make sure I eat at least one of them with every meal. So far, the meal planning hasn't made me nervous but I haven't committed any of it to paper. It's more of a mental dietary guideline that I'm keeping loose and unstructured. The minute I get too meticulous and calculated everything falls apart and my eating disorder kicks into overdrive. I'm not going to let that happen.
I'm hoping that eating more of these iron-rich foods will make me feel better. It's a little early to tell since I've only be concentrating on it for the last few days. For dinner last night I made a barley tabbouleh with fresh parsley and mint. Tonight I had "tacos" with black beans and black-eyed peas. I also made some granola with raisins, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cherries, oats, and almonds that I've been snacking on throughout the day. I guess that I have nothing to lose here. Being vegan, I have to be extra careful to make sure all of my nutrient needs are met. It's time I take control and be the healthiest me that I can be.