Wednesday, May 28, 2014

OFFICIAL WIFE: Dietary Iron by Calories

By 100g cal %Fe Cal/%Fe
thyme 276 686.7 0.40
parsley 276 543.7 0.51
marjoram 271 459.5 0.59
spearmint, fresh 44 65.9 0.67
thai tea, loose Pantai Brand 250 300 0.83
dill 253 271 0.93
cumin 375 369 1.02
cinnamon 261 211.5 1.23
oregano 306 244.4 1.25
bay leaves 313 228.9 1.37
basil 27 17.6 1.53
turmeric 354 230.1 1.54
black pepper 255 160.3 1.59
anise 337 205.3 1.64
oysters 125 62.5 2.00
sage 315 156.2 2.02
rosemary 331 162.5 2.04
blackstrap molasses 200 95.2 2.10
baby spinach 41.2 19.6 2.10
paprika 289 131.1 2.20
romaine 14 6.1 2.30
Japanese snack seaweed 320 120 2.67
turnip greens 23.6 8.5 2.78
cocoa 229 77 2.97
arugula 25 8.1 3.09
coriander 298 91 3.27
frozen spinach 28 8.4 3.33
chicken liver pate
plain pumpkin
tomatoes 32 7.2 4.44
brussels sprouts 36 6.7 5.37
Boca burger 105 17.5 6.00
cayenne 318 43.3 7.34
red lentils 360 40 9.00
shrimp 119 13.2 9.02
Persimmon 127 14 9.07
cucumber 13 1.4 9.29
butter beans 116.6 12.1 9.64
broccoli, frozen 29.4 2.4 12.25
beef jerky 410 30.1 13.62
beef 93% lean 142.8 8.9 16.04

Anyone for curried greens? :P I'm definitely amping up the spices in my cooking!

Friday, May 23, 2014

OFFICIAL WIFE: Plant Sources for Dietary Iron, Calcium

When I was younger I went through a period where I wanted to sleep all the time so they took me to the doctor.

PRESCRIPTION: Eat a plate of fried chicken livers every Sunday after church.

Yes, that's actually what the doctor said. He said I could put ketchup on them, if I wanted, and told my mom to ask for a certain guy in Big Star's meat department if she couldn't find any. Liver has an odd texture so we ended up pureeing it and adding it to meatloaf, cornbread dressing, beanie weanies, etc.

Most of my life, I've been iron deficient, but other than that episode, it's not been a big deal.

Boy did I get bad off towards the end of Lent. It got so bad because we didn't think anything was wrong. I was just tired. Then, we put all the symptoms together... Since then, I've been on an iron consumption CRUSADE! I've learned a lot so I'll share. :)

Personal Considerations: I'm obese so all my options need to be low calorie. I'm also not eating commercially processed grains (pasta, cereal, sandwich bread) and am generally tending toward low carb (broccoli, apples, edamame, green beans, salads) options instead of higher carbs (potatoes, corn, bananas, grains). I don't want to spend a lot of money. I don't like pills (loop back a sentence).

To think-- Alex used to be the picky one!

From previous research, I know that thyme is a good source of iron that is very low cal. One teaspoon of thyme yields 9.6%DRV iron and is 3.9cal!
In a previous dieting episode so as to meet my protein and iron goals, I had eight egg whites and three tablespoons of thyme for dinner... No amount of hot sauce can make that pleasant. As an easy way to overall increase your iron consumption, though, this is a useful fact. Sprinkle it on eggs. Put it in your soup. No calories left today and need iron? Sautee sliced mushrooms with thyme and red pepper flake-- but add a skosh* of olive oil if you can spare it. You can even sprinkle it on the mayo/Laughing Cow side of a sandwich or on luncheon meat roll-ups.

The next good source is greens. Baby spinach salads were a go-to: 88g (dinner plate full) baby spinach has 36.2cal and 17.3% DRV Iron. I used a dressing of 1T apple cider vinegar+1/4t red pepper flake+1t olive oil and topped it with either 118g (4oz+) grilled chicken** and 3g (1/2T+) freshly grated parmesan OR 180g (1/2 large) cucumber sliced with a side of tofu slab grilled on cast iron griddle. In addition to fresh spinach, I also added cooked spinach to my diet. Breakfast this week has been:

1 egg
101g (0.4c+) egg substitute
1t thyme
1/3 can spinach, drained
154cal 20pro 34%Fe 18%Ca

I did find something *!NEW!* this go round. Some Thai tea has iron! I just happened to be browsing my favorite bulk and exotics store (upcoming post devoted to this store), when I came upon this thai tea which gives 25%DRV for 15cal. I was all excited about this. It smells divine and tastes pretty good, too. When I ran out, though, they didn't have that brand. I looked through the other offerings which were mostly milk and sugar, but then I found this thai tea, which is actually much cheaper at $4.99/lb. One tablespoon is 5cal and yields 6% iron. Alex brews two tablespoons in a 24oz Tervis cup for me every morning with two tablespoons of sucralose (e.g. Splenda). This means breakfast is 164cal 20pro 46%Fe 18%Ca. That gives me a good start, but you'll see below that I'm still struggling a bit.

I ran out of cooked spinach Thursday, and as of Friday I now have neither cooked nor fresh so I'm adding one cup of turnip greens to my dinner. We have the Farmer's Market on Thursday here, and there were several greens to choose from. Here's a side-by-side comparison:

Cooking on cast iron pans also increases iron intake. Oh, and I've found the solution to my consistently low calcium intake. Silk Light Original Almond Milk:
It has fewer calories and MORE calcium than skim milk! --and look at that B12. I'm drinking one cup after work each day.

A tofu steak also has 94cal 13%Fe 16%Ca. The other thing I've learned is that modest amounts of iron do add up to fill in the last of the gap.
  • 9cal romaine leaves to separate the chicken curry and cantaloupe in my lunch box(or for a lettuce wrap)=3%
  • 82cal cantaloupe=3%
  • 24cal of cucumbers on my salad=3%
While I've been diligent about increasing my iron intake since before Lent ended, I've just now started tracking my meals again. This has also helped me really hone in on that 100% goal this week:

I've also discovered a new snack! For 14cal you get a small potato chip bag's worth of seasoned seaweed along with 3g protein and 3%Fe! You can also get this in packaging that metes them out three 3"X1" strips at a time.

Hoping This is Helpful,

Practical Woman

*From the Japanese sukoshi meaning 'a little, somewhat' inherited as US slang during the Korean War era.
**One might think meat is a good source of iron. Not really... That 118g of chicken is 143cal yielding only 1%Ca and5%Fe-- though 27g of protein.

PS: I'm sending the stars and moons to church this week. Should be tasty! ;)

Saturday, May 3, 2014



But you're gonna hafta read through a buncha stuff I want you to know to get to it. I know. I'm positively awful that way.

After snugumpupsin' my Ozzbot while watching Mr. Nobody on Netflix Saturday morning, I headed out to complete an AMAZING PROJECT and take some informative pictures.

 This is milkweed. There are different kinds of milkweed, but this is the kind I see most often.
 You can verify that it's milkweed-- beyond the appearance-- by breaking a bit off. A white foam appears. I know of no good use for these plants, and yes, they are poisonous.

An update on the lettuce patch! :) If I mention it in the blog often enough, Somebunny might lime that area next year, and we'll have free romaine. He's already paying enough attention to not mow it down this year!

That's the Bird sniffing it. We're going to let it go to seed again and hope for the best next year.

One of my dewberries. I have five locations with two yielding at this point. We've eaten dewberries almost every day this week, just a few on top of strawberries and cream. Make that three yielding! I picked the first one from this one today.

 I don't know the name of this wildflower, but it can be used as Spring onions, and it looks similar to garlic blossoms.
We had a different kind of wild onion back home that more resembled chives and had tiny bulbs. Kids would eat it as 'onion grass'. It was very common. We prolly had two dozen patches in a cleared acre. It grew easily, perennially, drought-resistant. I don't know why we didn't use it in the kitchen since it was so abundant, and we knew it was edible. Most of our food, though, was bland, boiled, and/or mush. No one uses garlic in their cooking where I come from. There's not a lot of herb, spice, or aromatic use in my people's cooking.

This is an awful photo of a dandelion. The leaves are very nutritious and at their best young-- prior to blooming-- so learn the leaves not the blooms. You can eat them in salad or sautee them or boil them like collard greens. People ate them during the Great Depression, and they are a good plant-source for iron. The roots can be boiled and brewed in to a tea which, I think, is a diuretic. Google says that's old school tradition that's unsupported, but that it's good for digestion and the liver. Harvest the big taproot (looks like a carrot), and wash prior to brewing. Don't wash plants until you're ready to eat them to slow decomposition. You can try drying slices to preserve it (dehydrator, if you're lucky or line a cookie sheet with a towel and place it on the hood of a car in full sun. Check on and turn every couple hours. We used to do this with apples, not dandelions, but same principle. Harvest in the fall.) or just treat it like potatoes or any other root.

People also blow the seeds off the stems and wish for things... it's very romantical... and it makes new plants for next year! :D

This is spiderwort. We didn't have these where I grew up so I've no idea if it's useful or hurtful. It's pretty and lasts a good long while in a vase, though.

This is centipede grass, so named for how it looks. It propagates mostly by very thick runners as you can see. A runner is when a plant puts out a tendril to start a new plant. See the green line left to right in the above photo. Where the leaves are, there are roots creating an independent plant. In between that, the tendril is called a runner. You can cut the runner, and each plant will likely still survive.

This is an earthworm. Where I'm from we have an invasive non-native species of worms called nightcrawlers that are about a foot long. They serve the same function: to help decomposition. Their poo is good dirt. You want lotsa worms in your yard. If by digging, you sever a worm in half, don't despair. Unlike a human, it will live. Place it in a cool, damp, bit of dirt that you're done messing with. Both types of worms are good sources of protein-- though I've not had cause to eat them quite yet!

I don't know what good snails are, but I think they're pretty. More often than not, I find shells, tiny ones. However this one was inhabited. I had a snail have babies in an aquarium once, and it's mesmerizing to watch a snail's foot undulate and move around on the glass. Some came out of the tank! This is a land snail, and a bit shyer. They always close up.

A fern! We used to go in the woods and cut some ferns to fill out bouquets. We used them the same way as florists use baby's breath (those little white flowers with lotsa leaves, e.g. filler, greenery).

Dude, yeah, that got potted!!

Let's check on the plants:
Weird sun bubble in the pic for peas--- But they're finally blooming!
The lettuce is just fine. I told you it would be, but I know you didn't believe me. ;)
The potatoes are growing like cray-cray.

Speaking of, we let the rest of the bag go to seed again...

Digging with a shovel and a trowel??? Madame was not made for such work.
 Birdie is a digger, but Oz takes some encouragement....

He's very obedient. If I can trick him into start digging, all it takes is saying, "Good boy!" and then repeating the same phrase over and over to trigger the behavior. I chose this song:

Now to my announcement....

What do you see?
One day recently, I spied some red in my lawn upon coming home for lunch. I investigated, and it was a strawberry. I remarked such to Alex, and then showed it to him. He said, "--and there's one, and there's one, and there's one." I have a strawberry patch!!!


So I weeded the whole thing... about four to five hours or work. I'm very sore today.

The Oz
I'm training them on 'get out' as I do with rooms in the house. He got it in a day. Bird is still learning a bit.

I've treated erosion problems with monkey grass, canna, daffodils, and lilies. Canna is the hardest to kill of them all because there's always a bit of root left so it grows again. Plus, in the fall, it looks like you've let corn go to seed. Monkey grass is the easiest to grow. They have long luscious dark green leaves that remind me of hair, about a 3/8" wide and with a rounded tip. They send up straight stems that have small purple blooms on the upper 4-6" which in turn become stems of purple-black berries. These berries are poisonous.
In the middle of this photograph, you see a bit of a tuber? As long as you put that in the ground, you'll have monkey grass. They also propagate via runner. They are drought resistant and very hardy. Monkey grass is good as a border because its thick roots prevent weeds from getting a foothold. Every few years you need to thin it out, as I'm doing now to provide a border to my strawberry patch.

After I watered it:
Our forester friend says that because the blooms are yellow, (My granny's were white.) they are wild strawberries which are small and ten times as sweet as market strawberries. Since I put them through such trauma this year, we'll let them go to seed, but I'll harvest next year!

A Truly Blessed Land Owner,