Stereotypes about vegans often include the idea that they’re anemic. I’ve donated blood for years and I panicked after I went vegan, worrying that I wouldn’t be able to donate anymore. I’m a little more pedantic about my eating habits than most people so it’s probably not surprising that my iron levels were in the high end of the healthy range when I donated Thursday evening. There are a lot of reasons you might want to give blood. I’m including 2 links to scientific papers whose results suggest that regular blood donations can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, especially if you’re a dude.
My personal reasons for donating blood is that one out of every 4 people will need a transfusion in their life. Imagine 4 people you care about. Now imagine your life without one of them. Wow, that’s depressing. Anyways, there are benefits to donating blood other than patting yourself on the back for saving lives: I got a free movie ticket and a snack, I know my blood pressure and my blood iron levels are healthy and in a week I’ll know my cholesterol level. You’ll also learn your blood type which is a good thing to know if you’re ever seriously hurt.
Spinach is another one of my favorite vegan goodies. Spinach can help you prepare for and recover from donating blood. One cup has enough vitamin K to give 2 people their recommended daily intake of vitamin K. WTF is vitamin K? It’s a crucial nutrient for blood clotting. This is important for after you’re done donating blood to help you stop bleeding and reduce your risk of bruising.
So why is spinach better than beef if you’re thinking about donating blood? Beef has less than 2/3 the iron and almost 10 times the calories compared to spinach, ounce for ounce. Spinach also has 600 times the vitamin K of an equal weight of lean beef. (according to http://www.nutritiondata.com)
Did I mention I’m making spinach artichoke dip? Yeah. I’ve gotta recuperate the nutrients I donated (excuse to indulge). Assemble these ingredients.
1/2 onion, diced
1 generous bunch spinach, chopped (frozen is fine, one 12 ounce package should do it, just make sure it’s thawed and well drained)
1 tin marinated artichoke hearts
1 tsp olive oil
1 12 oz. package silken tofu (I used Mori-Nu)
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
3 garlic cloves
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp flake red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sautee onion, spinach and artichoke hearts in olive oil until onion is soft.
Blend together tofu, nutritional yeast, garlic, vinegar and spices in blender until smooth.
Combine all ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a glass baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes, after that, observe until lightly browned on top.
Garnish with some shredded basil. Serve warm with crackers, raw broccoli florets or carrots.
As I’ve written it, this recipe contains about 350-500 calories (depending on how much olive oil you sautee with and what sort of tofu you use). That’s about the number of calories in a blood donation. Coincidence? I think not.
This is Christie, signing off to go see that free movie.
The misconception that vegans are anemic, rail-thin, weaklings needs to go. Thank you for helping dispel that myth.
Good for you for donating blood! I just helped run the blood drive at the school where I teach.
The spinach-artichoke dip looks so delectable. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
So awesome that you’re involved in saving the lives of complete strangers too! :’)
Would you let me know if you get to try the recipe? I would love to know how you like it or if you’d make any changes that improve it… like I was thinking about putting some vegan parmesan over the top of it before baking.
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