Today's MoFo Prompt: "Focus on a nutrient"
Last time I got my blood panels done, the only thing that was a little low was iron. My doctor thinks that was probably because I had just given blood about 10 days earlier, and apparently it takes your body a long time to rebuild your blood after that. How interesting! Anyhow, those results made me a little more aware of iron.
I remembered learning a while back that eating iron-rich veggies alongside some source of vitamin C helped to make the iron more bio-available. I did a little more reading in honor of this post, and learned that the iron in meat is easier for our bodies to access, but that the iron in veggies can be much more abundant but harder to absorb. So we need to give it a little help by adding vitamin C-rich foods like citrus or tomatoes. It's interesting to think of how many indigenious meals already do this - like beans with salsa (tomato and lime), bean soup with orange juice, and so on.
I also learned something new-to-me that was kind of a bummer, but also probably important for me to know -- the tannins in tea and coffee inhibit iron absorption, so you shouldn't drink tea or coffee within 3 hours of eating your iron-rich meal. This is a bummer for me because I love to have a cup of decaf after dinner... but now I will try to skip that ritual sometimes, especially on nights when I know I've made an iron-rich meal.
high fives, Popeye!
So, one of the single most iron-rich foods ever in the whole wide world is our vegan friend, Spinach. Popeye was on to something! I have a favorite spinach dal recipe that I've shared on my blog before, but I hadn't made it in quite a long time. I got the recipe from a restaurant in India, where I ordered it so many times that when I was about to return home I groveled for the recipe and they took pity on me and gave it to me.
This dal recipe is pretty fantastic because it calls for a whopping 1.5 pounds of fresh spinach. As you can see, that's really a lot of spinach. Spinach is so weird, because of course it cooks down to almost nothing!
this picture is cuter
Putting my nutrient knowledge in action, I added fresh tomato and a extra generous squeeze of fresh lime juice to the dal in order to amplify my iron-absorption (along with a drizzle of cashew creme, to amplify my yum-absorption). This dal is so thick and delicious, it was quite a treat to make it again after such a long time.
this picture is greener
I'm not usually a two-pictures-of-the-same-dish kind of blogger, but in this picture, which is less cute, you can see a bit more readily just how deep, deep green the dal is. All that spinach gets cooked down and then pureed into an smooth, emerald paste/liquid that is cooked into the dal. It's quite a sight to behold! Also, as per my newest information, I skipped my evening decaf just to make sure I'd get the most out of my dinner. I felt quite pleased with myself!
I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's nutrient-focused posts today!