Anemia has plagued me most of my life. Latterly, I’ve got my tendency to short iron under control. In the past, I ate very little red meat and didn’t find that ‘Iron Supplements’ worked well with my body. So I studied up, using the nutritional tables in Laurel’s Kitchen. Her essays on essential minerals, and lists of foods high in the specific mineral about which she wrote, helped me craft the ultimate bio-available high-iron breakfast. Coincidentally, this same meal is insanely high in fiber as well.
Nowadays, I apply what I learned from Nourishing Traditions about phytic acids, naturally present in grains and flours, locking up key minerals and preventing their absorption. So this recipe begins 24 hours before you want to eat it. In addition, you’ll take in more of the bio-available nutrients if you 1) have your coffee or tea before/after eating, 2) add fresh fruit high in vitamin C to your breakfast bowl (melon, strawberries/bramble berries, citrus). Non-heme iron, the kind which is plant based, also absorbs better if you consume a little heme iron at the same time. So bring on a strip of bacon, breakfast sausage, or what you choose (if your diet allows) to get that extra punch-up.
The serving volume as given provides about 7 mg of iron and 17 g dietary fiber. Combine this across the arc of a day with a serving of dark, leafy greens and one or two servings of beans or lentils, let alone a serving of red meat, and you’ll be over the fence with your iron requirements.
Oh, and there are a whopping pile of calories in this breakfast bowl–with the strawberries suggested above, you’ll be close to 700 calories. Add a small serving of animal protein, and you’ll be at 750 calories. But you can eat this from first thing through lunch (that was my methodology) and then you’re good for the day with a nice snack in the early p.m. and a reasonable dinner.
Power Oatmeal Porridge
For the soaked grain:
2/3 cup, 2 oz, 55 g, rolled oats
1 TBSP, .25 oz, 8 g, rye, spelt or buckwheat flour
1.5 cup, 350 ml, hot water–but not boiling
2 tsp, 10 ml, apple cider vinegar OR 2 TBSP, 1 oz, 30 ml whey
For the Porridge:
pinch of salt
1 TBSP, .4 oz, 11 g, raisins
3 dried peach halves, chopped
1 1/2 TBSP, .5 oz, 14 g, pumpkin seeds pulsed in a small electric grinder
1 1/2 TBSP, .5 oz, 14 g, sunflower seeds pulsed in a small electric grinder
2 TBSP, .5 oz, 14 g, sesame meal (made from ‘unhulled’ sesame if possible, as this quintuples the calcium)
3-4 TBSP, .75 oz, 20 g, toasted wheat germ
1 TBSP, .75 oz, 20 g, blackstrap molasses–and don’t try to use a lighter molasses since the iron and calcium are present in the unrefined version only
a handful of strawberries or bramble berries, a piece of citrus/mango/guava/papaya, a serving of melon
Combine the ‘soak’ ingredients in a bowl and cover tightly the morning before you want your Power Porridge. Set the bowl aside at room temperature until the next morning. In a mesh sieve, rinse the soaked oats well.
Bring 1 1/3 cups water, 325 ml, to a boil in a suitable pan. Add the oats, dried fruit and salt, cover the pan and reduce the heat to very low. Simmer covered 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the oats sit another 5 minutes. Stir in the nuts, seeds, wheat germ and blackstrap molasses. Eat the fruit with the porridge–in it or on the side, to aid in absorption of iron and calcium alike. If you’re worried your selenium intake isn’t what it should be, add a tablespoon of pastured butter.