It has been a while since my last post, but I have many updates… starting with this one.
Valentine’s Day 2014 was celebrated in a unique fashion:
That morning, I went for a short recovery run on the treadmill (since sidewalks we still covered in icy snow melt), my typical beginning-of-the-day activity, showered and ate breakfast (kale, of course!). But my Valentine’s Day Adventure began with a double date (with my sister-in-law & her boyfriend) at the Red Cross Blood Donation Center. Throughout my life I have always been anemic, rarely able to get my blood levels in balance. I had to be given iron drops as a child, and take iron supplements through my teenage years. When I was 16 years old, a 3-unit blood transfusion saved my life. I never understood how important blood donations were (and still are!), until I needed them for myself. One year later, I wanted to give back and save lives, so I began making quarterly visits to the Red Cross Blood Donation Center.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to donate every single time. I was moderately anemic (as many teenage girls are), and couldn’t consistently pass the mandatory hemoglobin test. I figured out how to get my blood levels up, though. For a whole week, I would prepare my blood for donation by stuffing myself full of iron supplements, multivitamins, and steak! (I wasn’t always vegan) This worked most of the time, allowing me to donate enough, over time, to be a “Gallon Donor.” But it still hadn’t fixed my anemia, and definitely wrecked havoc on my GI system.
It has been 4.5 years since my last donation.
Last Friday, I sat nervously in the “Whole Blood” questioning room at the Donation Center… waiting for the outcome. Would I be healthy enough to donate? The clinician took my temperature. Normal. Then he tested my blood pressure. 104/78 (yes!). Then came the hemoglobin test. He pricked my finger, wiped the first drop of blood away with an alcohol wipe, and then collected the next “clean” drop. I was sweating, waiting for the little computer-thing to measure my hemoglobin. The machine beeped and my measurement came up: 12.5. The minimum requirement is 12.5… and I met it. I was elated! I didn’t have to cram myself full of artificial iron to “fake” my blood through the test! Oh, and for the first time I didn’t faint at the end of my donation (BONUS!).
How was this time different? How could my blood be in better balance, now, without vitamins and iron supplements? Without MEAT in my diet?
Well, let’s discuss the major differences:
1. I have been taking an oxidative stress-reducing supplement (all natural, GMO-free, herbal) everyday since the end of August 2013. Oxidative stress is free-radical damage to the cells of the body, leading to mutations and illness. We get oxidative stress from the chemicals in the water we drink, the pollution in the air we breathe, our cell phones up to our heads, preservatives in the food we eat, EVERYTHING. That said, I suppose reducing my oxidative stress allows my body to function at a higher level, and be the miracle body it is. Incredible.
2. I have been “pescatarian-vegetarian” since June 2012, and vegan since January 2014. My diet has increased the variety of foods I consume, giving me a broad spectrum of nutrient intake. Who says you need animal meat for iron and protein?
My blood is BALANCED for the first time, since… EVER.