“All vegans will die of anaemia, you just simply cannot get enough iron into your diet without meat to survive”.
Ladies and Gentleman, there are some crazy fools out there. The particular crazy fool that said this was a Doctor on a nutrition podcast I was listening to. He seemed serious too and he highlighted to me the simple fact that Doctors do not study nutrition enough to adequately give nutritional advice. It SHOULD be a key element of the lengthy degree in which they study and is not, but then again, I guess if everyone knew the real benefits of food, we would need far less Doctors! Despite saying that, I should point out that I give my upmost respect to Doctors, their job is literally to save lives and we constantly rely on them. The issue I have is the spreading of misinformation, due to lack of education or experience in the subject they are advising. So my “beef” is not with Doctors, not even Doctor Crazy Fool. It is the “science”that human beings have arrogantly claimed to know everything about. The same science that told us smoking was good for us not so long ago. If he had said how much harder it is for a vegan to consume vital nutrients, compared to a meat eater, then I would have 100% agreed, but saying we are all going to die from anaemia, well that is nothing but words of a crazy fool.
Anyway…. That statement really pissed me off, so I researched the foods with the highest iron levels and decided to make a Juddy Bowl out of them. This meal alone has 70% of the RDA of iron requirements. I am trying to eat less tofu, but if you were to add 100g of tofu to each serve, you have 100%. Your entire iron recommended daily intake, in one meal. Stick that up your jacksy, Mr Dr Crazy Fool.
It also has over 30g protein and contains a nutritionally dense 700 calories. You should eat like this every day!
Don’t get me wrong, it is HARD to meet the nutritional requirements on a vegan diet. A LOT of planning, research and dedication is needed, but it IS possible and you WON’T die! Iron is essential and the simple truth is that it is far easier to meet your requirements through eating red meat. Women, in particular, need to eat a lot of iron as each month, their body literally forces it out of them and needs to be replenished. It is not just women though, everyone needs iron, especially highly active people. Iron is what transports oxygen between the tissues in our bodies, hence it is essential and does need to be respected.
OK… So foods that contain high levels of iron…
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Whole Wheat Pasta
You could make an excellent hot pasta dish out of this, but I decided to make a cold salad (it is just as good eaten hot). Roast the pumpkin and seeds, boil the lentils and make a sweet apricot cashew cream to smother on top. This is a BIG meal and may have been created with brain over heart, but it tastes great. If you eat this after a big exercise session, your body will thank you SO much.
Let’s get to work
- 800g Butternut Pumpkin, peeled and cut into (slightly larger than) bite sized pieces
- ½ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), you can wash and prepare from pumpkin or buy in a packet
- 1 1/2 cups dried green lentils
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Dash cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper
- 200g baby spinach and rocket (arugula) mixture
- 2 cups dried wholemeal penne pasta, cooked and cooled to package instructions
- 2 tomatoes, I roast mine for 90 minutes at 165 degrees Celsius, but raw is fine too
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers, chopped
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 8 hours or boiled for 10 minutes
- ¾ cup dried apricots
- 1 cup water
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius
- Put the chopped pumpkin into a large bowl. Add the cumin, turmeric and half the smoked paprika and garam masala, then season with salt and pepper and mix really well, adding a small amount of extra oil if needed. Empty into a single layer of a large baking tray and set aside
- Add the lentils to a saucepan with 4 ½ cups water. Cover and bring to a boil, over a high heat. As it starts to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring regularly and adding more water if needed. Season with salt and pepper at the end
- At the beginning of the 40 minutes, put the pumpkin tray in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, turning halfway
- Pour the pepitas into the same bowl you mixed the pumpkin and add the remaining spices. Season with salt and pepper, add the oil and pour into a single layer of a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes and then store in an air tight container
- Cook the pasta to the package instructions, if you have not done so already
- Meanwhile, prepare the apricot cashew sauce. Add everything to a blender and blend into a creamy sauce. Adjust the water level to the desire consistency, start with ½ cup of water and add a little at a time until you got it
- Either put everything in your fridge and eat when cooled or you can now bowl up. Arrange everything into 4 equal bowls, sprinkle the pepitas over and load up on apricot sauce
- Get it into ya!!!
Black Sabbath “Paranoid”
Yes, I am putting this on here because it contains the song “Iron Man”. I apologise for nothing.
And yes, Ozzy used to work in a slaughter house which doesn’t exactly bode well with a vegan food blog, but, Geezer Butler (bassist of the band) is not only called Geezer, but he is a long time vegan and most importantly, this album is immense.
Listen – but do yourself a favour and buy it on vinyl!!