Friday, May 4, 2012

Pumping (and Cooking!) Iron

As part of the extensive doctor's visit yesterday, I also had plenty of blood drawn to check my iron. Unsurprisingly, my hemoglobin and hematocrit levels were very low - meaning I'm anemic. Symptoms of this can vary but for most people it's an issue of fatigue. It's likely related to the fact that I'm not absorbing iron correctly, but in the meantime I should be eating an iron rich-diet to boost my energy.

While there are plenty of foods you can eat that are loaded with iron (chicken liver, anyone?) one simple thing is just to cook your meals in a cast iron pan. So today's lunch was a simple meal for one cooked in an iron skillet.



This is a great meal that included plenty of iron sources - egg yolks, spinach and Vitamin C in the tomatoes so it can better be absorbed. As a bonus, it's pretty easy. In fairness, even a 20 minute meal is really too long for an average lunch, but it would make a nice weekend breakfast or even a quick dinner. Plus, cooking in a skillet makes me feel like the Pioneer Woman. Later on today I'm going to grind some corn to make skillet cornbread and sew a blanket from old rags or something along those lines. 

The recipe (if you can call it a recipe) is very simple. Start by sauteing some diced onions in olive oil and then add in 3 cups of raw spinach. I let it wilt just a little and then cracked two eggs into the pan and topped the whole thing with a diced tomato. Then it went straight into the oven for about 7 minutes at 350 degrees.




I actually ended up topping everything with some ricotta cheese right at the end - such a nice combination!

Have you ever cooked with a cast iron skillet? Any great recipes to share?
When I was a child we often cooked in cast iron, but I haven't in a while. 

Do you track iron intake/take iron supplements? Have you ever noticed fatigue for no reason?
I used to, but because I'm not absorbing it properly I need much more than the recommended amount. I will say - if you feel like you are completely fatigued and workouts seem MUCH harder than normal (and it's not a result of overtraining) head to the doctor! It's very quick and painless to figure it out.  



19 comments:

  1. We almost always cook with cast iron. Teflon pans freak Hubby out and I don't like how much oil I need in a copper bottom one to keep things from sticking.

    I've been feeling a little pooped too, maybe I'll up the raisins in my granola. :)

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  2. I never knew that! Hoping your results arrive soon and that leads to some answers! The picture below looks uncomfortable!!!

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  3. Your lunch looks very much like my breakfast except I had feta on my eggs. And toast. Mmm, carbs.

    I hope you get to feeling better and things get all straightened out.

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  4. Yum!! That looks delicious. I constantly have low iron so I am always looking for new ways to get more. Currently I am on an iron supplement and should have my levels checked to see if it is helping.

    Thanks for the post. Good to know I'm not alone. :)

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  5. Hmm I should buy a cast iron pan!! My doctor told me to start taking iron supplements when I stopped eating meat but I NEVER take them. I am so lazy about it and I really shouldn't be. I really hope things get sorted soon!

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  6. It's only painless until they put a bandaid on the draw site that sticks to your arm hairs and uproots them! =( haha.

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  7. I want a cast iron pan! Think of the fritatta!

    20 minutes is definitely too long for lunch making. I made an egg sandwich today and felt like it took FOREVER.

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  8. Oh, this looks so yummy; I love anything with eggs. I do have a cast iron but truth be told, I use it mostly for baking cornbread or dutch pancakes on my cheat days. And that baby has a nice cured surface now :D I do track my iron intake because I am hypothyroid and it affects the absorption of my medicine.

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  9. I'm a huge fan of all the ingredients you just put in that pot :) and have all those ingredients in my fridge all the time since they are so versatile NOT TO MENTION YUMMY!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

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  10. I have nothing to contribute about an iron skillet - never quite understood all the "rules" especially about seasoning it??? or curing it or whatever you're to do with it.

    Wilted spinach salad - girl, good iron in spinach and my current addiction - give 'er a whirl if you want:
    3 cups of spinach (more or less as you wish) in a bowl set aside; heat up olive oil (I used some of my new garlic infused olive oil that I picked up at an Olive oil specialty shop) in a skillet; thinly slice 1 med red onion and saute in oil; pour onion and oil over spinach to "wilt" it - toss; put more oil in the skillet and a cup (more or less to your liking) of crumbled feta - heat until feta begins to melt slightly - pour oil and feta over spinach and toss. It's amazing. You can add shrimp to it or other iron rich foods if you want. I had hard boiled eggs on my most recent batch - yum!

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  11. I'm so jealous that you work from home and can cook lunch as opposed to my cramming a tuna sandwich in my mouth while checking emails. I got my mom a cast iron skillet for xmas and she loves it, now I want my own even more! I take a multivitamin but I do get my iron checked every so often since I don't eat meat.

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  12. Yum that looks way good! I have always wanted to have that iron skillet that was past down from generation to generation but that just isn't the case. I don't have one :( Maybe I should just start my own and give it to my kids!

    I am usually ok as long as I eat my bananas and stuff. I always give blood so they check every time and I seem to be ok.

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  13. I didn't know that using a cast iron skillet helped. Interesting!! I wish I could make awesome lunches like that! Jealous!!!

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  14. I am glad you found it was something that can be remedied. We cooked in cast iron till we moved onto the boat. I decided it was too heavy!

    May go back to that now though. Good for you for doing what you need to do to look after yourself.

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  15. Definitely looks like part of a restaurants gourmet meals. Nicely done.

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  16. That looks extremely delicious.

    Barbara
    My Running Shortz

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  17. Yum- that looks so good! We do most of our cooking in cast iron pans and also have a cast iron dutch oven. Frittas are really good and easy, as they can cook on the stove top and then broil the last two minutes in the oven. Happy iron loading!

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  18. I love to cook with an iron skillet. My grandmother believed in using nothing else when she cooked.

    That looks delicious!

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  19. I haven't cooked with cast iron in a long time (The Mike got me All Clad a few years back and the cast iron went on the shelf) though I still attempt to use it at the parents' (easier with bacon! than scrambled eggs).

    Love BEEF liver, can't stand any other kind--and no onions please. Beef liver, cooked in bacon fat, topped with sauteed mushrooms. Oooh, I'm getting homesick.

    Are you getting run of the mill tests to find out what's wrong--and are they looking at food intolerances/allergies too?

    I hope the medical world figures it out for you SOON!

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