Side note: I DID start eating small amounts of meat about 8 months ago. It didn't help my score.
However, even though I am a naturopathic student, I HATE supplements. I live by Hippocrates' words, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." So how does one deal with low iron when avoiding meat?
First consult your doctor. You may not be ABSORBING it, which can be caused by many factors. Mine, for example, is hypochlorhydria. My gut doesn't have enough acid. One way of remedying this is to take a shot of apple cider vinegar before meals. But I'm sorry, I would rather take a shot of something that makes me puke after 10 shots, not 1. My decision has been to go with taking HCl supplements.
In order to get more iron in my diet I have chosen to go the food route. There are 2 different forms of iron- heme and nonheme. Plants have nonheme and animal products have heme, which is more easily absorbed. Some great forms of dietary iron include:
- Black Strap Molasses- a couple tablespoons every day!
- Chick Peas (Hummus!!), lentils, all beans really
- Spinach (lightly steamed)
- Dried figs and Dried apricots
If you are an omnivore:
- Chicken liver has the most! Yummy.
- Oysters, clams
- Turkey, beef
- Tuna, halibut
I will report back in 3-4 months on this issue. After fighting anemia for the last few years, it is time to get to the CAUSE and treat the WHOLE PERSON. Temporary supplementation of HCl should help my body to absorb the iron. Then when my ferritin increases to a healthy range of >70 (it is at 15), I will find the true CAUSE.
Why not enough acid? Anyone have ideas? :)