I just found out my daughter is anemic. This sucks. Okay, it is only mild anemia (10.1 where normal is 11 and 10.5 is considered on the low end of ‘normal’). Worst is she probably got it from me, I mean I was anemic through pregnancy and try as I might to correct it I kept being slightly bellow optimum. Actually at the hospital when I was ready to deliver they said my level was 11, so perhaps I just got there, in the end but all through the pregnancy it was a bit dodgy.
So here I am, having studied Nutrition, with a Naturopath for a dad and with an anemic daughter. It is pretty serious stuff in kids, too, or it can be so you gotta watch out if you think your kid is at risk.
I am already looking out to make sure I/we get enough protein, vitamin D, water, I avoid all the stuff either of us in sensitive to (which includes dairy, gluten, eggs and soy!) and now I got to build iron back in, re-doubled. I love people who just eat naturally, in both senses: from nature and intuitively, without over-thinking it. Yet for me it is clearly not to be.
The first thing anyone says if I say Anya is anemic is ‘give her beef’. Okay… first, beef has less iron in it than red beans according to the shiny new sheet I have from our pediatrician. But I know, though one can do it without meat by eating plenty of green veg and legumes the question is am I doing it? The answer so far is no. It is hard to eat a super green, alkalising diet with plenty of raw foods, water and whole grains when I am at home chasing after a wanna-be-toddler (ie she wants to toddle but is more at the crawling stage for now). I am beat by the end of the day with little energy to prepare super foods.
All veteran mums give the same tip: cook batches both for you and the baby, live on leftovers essentially. Yet even this takes great organisation and commitment and I am still working my way up to doing it all the time. I have salads or grains and greens for lunch, usually (with seeds and beans tossed in for protein and some yummy oils for good fats). For dinner we do quite well, too… but often I am tired and go for the easy route. Today I had chips and a veggie burger with salad. That probably happens once a week or so (not necessarily this meal, but something equally lazy). Anya often eats roughly what I eat, although she always has iron-fortified cereal in the morning, then I’ll often give her some of whatever grain I am doing mixed in with some veg like squash or peas. She also has avocados, sweet potatoes and the like.
Man, this is tough. Not rocket-science-tough, more daily-trek-up-the-mountain-to-get-water-tough… but without the hardship or the poverty. Hmm…
For now Anya is on an iron supplement. I put her on that (well, technically the doctor did) while I investigate other options, as I don’t at all like the ingredients in this. Gonna find a kid-friendly naturally derived one (probably something like Floradix) and look at the green food supplements again.
I am a bit frustrated with it all and I was quite shaken by it (when I started reading and reminding myself of possible consequences and worst case scenarios) but hopefully this will serve as a gentle reminder to stay green and clean, to have fun with food while keeping it light and natural. Phew…