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What I Ate Wednesday–Iron Woman

December 21, 2011

Woohoo – only two days left at work before the Christmas hols, or less if I manage to get away at lunchtime on Friday. It’s also What I Ate Wednesday, which is even more reason to be cheerful. Follow the link over to Peas and Crayons to find out how to join in with WIAW and have a look at some other lovely blogger food.


I’m afraid that there’s no festive food in this week’s WIAW. There’s plenty of chocolate and biscuits floating around the office, but I’ve mostly been resisting, apart from a couple of Quality Street (I like caramel barrels and the solid chocolate one). I promise I’ll try to do better next week. It’s hard to believe that by this time next week the big day will have been and gone and we’ll be floating in the no man’s land between Christmas and New Year.

You might remember that a few months ago I was diagnosed with iron-deficiency anaemia and I had to take high dose supplements for a while. Thankfully my iron levels returned to normal and I started to feel a lot better. However, I think I’ve been a bit complacent about making sure that I’m getting enough iron in my diet and after tracking my daily diet for a while I’m sadly lacking in iron most days. Somehow today I felt motivated to make an effort to include as many iron-rich foods as I could.


Breakfast was a complete triumph! I’ve been very jealous of all of you that have been able to get hold of Dorset Cereals gingerbread porridge, so I decided to make my own version. I admit that it looks a bit of a mess, but it was absolutely divine.


Apple and ginger porridge

  • 50g Porridge oats
  • Pink lady apple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Rice milk
  • Water
  • 1/2 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 15g cracked linseed
  • Ginger powder

I cooked the porridge, including the chopped apple, in the microwave and then stirred in the cracked linseed, ginger powder and molasses. I sprinkled more ginger on top because I’m a ginger fiend at the moment.

The oats and molasses gave me my first dose of iron.


I bought a tin of sardines as soon as I found out that I was iron-deficient, but it’s been sitting in my cupboard ever since. I used to eat sardines all the time when I was little, but then I became squeamish about it and have never really got over that. I decided to be a big girl today and took the tin with me to work, along with a salad and a Food Doctor pitta bread.


Sardines are oily fish as well as a good source of iron, so I really wanted to like it. I would say it was half successful because although I managed to eat it all, I did feel a little bit icky afterwards. Next time I might try half a tin on toast or something like that.

You might notice spinach in that salad. My name’s Sarah and I’m addicted to spinach. It’s a bad thing because raw spinach inhibits the absorption of iron. I promise that next time I go to the supermarket I’m going to find some alternative leaves to use in salads so that I’m not so reliant on the green stuff.


I made a stew out of the vegetables I had left over from my organic veggie box for dinner. Thank you to everyone who suggested that I used the winter greens to make a stew, because it was gorgeous!


Into the stew went:

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Winter greens
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Butter beans
  • Vegetable bouillon
  • Black pepper
  • Cumin
  • Water

Considering how simple it was, this was so flavourful and I was reminded about how enjoyable white potatoes can be. I always think white potatoes get a bad rep, but they are a good source of iron and vitamin C, and sweet potatoes actually contain a chemical that inhibits the absorption of iron.


I’ve been snacking a bit less lately, but there has still been plenty of snackage including:

  • 0% greek yoghurt
  • Yoghurt covered raisins (addicted!)
  • Rice cakes with various toppings
  • Lots of fruit

Is there a food that you know is good for you and you’ve been trying to acquire a taste for?

Do you choose particular foods for their nutrient content?

16 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2011 7:32 pm

    I didn’t realise that sweet potatoes could inhibit the absorption of iron! I made some gingerbread porridge myself a couple of weeks ago to almost the same recipe, it was lush, I love the molasses. I don’t think there’s any food that I don’t like that’s good for me to be honest, but I don’t think I’d force myself to eat something if I didn’t like it as there’s always alternatives! Like wise with choosing healthy foods, the only things I consciously choose for health is things like kale and other leafy greens, molasses and some times I add pumpkin seeds to things for the iron and drink fortified milk.

  2. December 21, 2011 7:46 pm

    Glad you are feeling better with the iron.

    I love the toffee quality streets, I am know to make my jaw ACHE!!!

  3. December 21, 2011 8:27 pm

    Oh hurl, I hate sardines. But you are right, they are such a good source of iron. Obviously I completely understand and appreciate this post as I am lacking in iron still! I am feeling better though, and what a relief that is
    Because of this, I do pick foods with more iron in them… and also a good mix of healthy fats and protein. Both of which help me stay satisfied

  4. December 21, 2011 9:36 pm

    Everything sounds tasty except for the sardines. I was never a fan even when I still ate fish. The porridge sounds yummy!

  5. December 21, 2011 9:56 pm

    I don’t think I could have managed the sardines either; there is definitely something a bit icky about them! The porridge sounds great though, as does the stew but what a shame about the spinach… what about pak choi; you get the lovely leaves and the nice crunchy hearts; perfect for salads… and I’m with you on the youghurt raisins; seriously addictive!

  6. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance permalink
    December 21, 2011 10:12 pm

    Wow– I REALLY admire you for taking the plunge and having sardines for lunch! Honestly, I’ve never tried them and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to. They give me the heebie jeebies!

  7. December 21, 2011 10:30 pm

    I used to force myself to eat veggies because I knew they were good for me, but I’ve actually developed a taste for a lot of them. I’ve never had blackstrap molasses but I hear it’s so good for you that I really should try it!

  8. December 21, 2011 10:41 pm

    Oh gosh yes. Tomatoes are one thing that I really don’t like unless they are barbequed, but I force myself to eat them for the vitamin C.

  9. December 21, 2011 11:33 pm

    Mmm gingerbread porridge sounds delicious! I love Christmas spices.
    Eek really not a fan of sardines so I commend you for giving them a go!
    Your stew looks delicious 🙂
    I am increasingly trying to include more protein and fat in my diet as I have been particularly weak lately, it’s difficult to do as I am less active at the moment so I’m putting on a little weight but I know it must be done!

  10. December 22, 2011 12:16 am

    The stew looks awesome….hearty and filling! Perfect for a cold winter night!

  11. December 22, 2011 2:45 am

    I had no idea that raw spinach inhibited iron absorption! The porridge looks delicious also. 🙂

  12. December 22, 2011 2:40 pm

    Your porridge sounds amazing- and more gingery than the dorset one too (it is only mildly flavoured). Can’t you cook the spinach a little? I thought once it was wilted the iron was absorbed more easily?

  13. December 22, 2011 8:38 pm

    There’s definitely lots of foodie ‘trends’ and things that I’ve tried to like and just don’t. And then they end up sitting there getting dusty!

  14. December 23, 2011 2:42 am

    i LOVE sardines! you can send your extra cans to me! 😉 i’ve really tried to like avocados for their healthy fats but i just HATE them!

  15. December 23, 2011 9:03 pm

    I’ve been trying to get to grips with molasses. I’m getting there slowly. It is an acquired taste indeed.

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