Have Granola Whenever You Please With This Super Quick Stove Top Recipe

The only drawback to homemade granola (superior to store-bought, on all counts, in my book) is finding the foresight to make large batches of it in advance. Maybe it’s just me, but my motivation for making anything is pretty closely tied to how soon I’m going to scarf it down.

Source: The Shortcut to Homemade Granola

The basic sequence of events is this: Add your fat and sweetener to your pan over medium-low heat and blend until everything is nice and liquid. Add in the grains and a pinch of salt and toast until golden (8-10 minutes). Mix in whatever nuts and seeds you like and cook for another couple of minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and sprinkle with your favorite spices (or toasted coconut and chocolate chips!) and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Break it up and throw it in some yogurt or milk and you have a tasty homemade breakfast.  Or anytime snack; granola shouldn’t be confined to the morning.

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Blood Thinners and Iron Deficiency

Being on blood thinners does not directly impact iron levels in the blood.  Unless you’re bleeding – then you have bigger problems.

If you believe that you are iron deficient:

Call your doctor and make an appointment immediately.  It could be an indication of [internal] blood loss, which is a possibility if your INR level is above 3.  But the level is not a strong indication – I’ve had no issue when in the 4s, yet I bled into my lungs while open water swimming when my INR was in the low 2s.  Doctors can perform a physical exam in addition to blood tests (and more blood tests depending on initial results).

Be aware that if bleeding is confirmed to be the source of the iron deficiency, the benefit to being on warfarin/coumadin is the medication can be flushed from your system.  It’s not available to those on other blood thinner medications, and in my experience it’s not something doctors will use unless they have to.  As in, they were fine with me sitting in hospital for days until my INR was under 1.4 (allowable level for surgery).

Dietary Sources for Iron Deficiency Prevention

Anyone can develop iron-deficiency anemia, but us “bleeders” are more likely than most to develop it because some of the best sources of iron also have a lot of vitamin K.  The goto sources are beef (stop making faces) and spinach.

Here’s the top 5 sources of iron for those of us on blood thinners:

  1. Lentils are the first on the list which do no contain vitamin K, and at 37% of your Daily Value (DV)… if you eat 1 cup of them.
  2. Sesame seeds: 29% DV of iron for 0.25 cup
  3. Garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas): 26% DV of iron for 1 cup
  4. Lima beans: 25% DV of iron for 1 cup
  5. Olives: 25% DV of iron for 1 cup
  6. Navy beans: 24% DV of iron for 1 cup

What?  There was a tie, and I’d eat navy beans before olives or lima beans. 😛

The alternative is iron supplements.

FYI: Vegans (or depending on your vegetarianism) should be aware that there’s also pernicious anemia, the result of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Recipe: Tahini

Tahini can be convenient to buy at most grocery stores, but expensive.  It’s incredibly simple to make yourself.  Providing you have:

  • coffee/spice grinder
  • food processor
  • frying pan or microwave if toasting the seeds

Then hit the bulk foods section of your grocery store for some sesame seeds!  If there’s vitamin K in sesame seeds, it’s so low there’s no concern.  There’s some real benefit to eating sesame/tahini:

  • The copper in sesame seeds is good for Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Magnesium supports vascular and respiratory health
  • Calcium helps prevent colon cancer, osteoporosis, migraines and PMS
  • Zinc for bone health
  • Phytosterols lower cholesterol

Additional tips:

  • It’s worth finding a store with a decent bulk foods section for various things – sugar, spices, nuts, oatmeal and such.  You can save a lot.
  • The nice part about tahini is that if the sesame and oil separates – just mix it up again.

When Life gives you tahini, make hummus! 🙂

Breastfeeding? 10 Superfoods for You and Yours

When you’re breastfeeding, time and convenience are huge. Who has time to whip up complete meals? Don’t stress! These nutritional powerhouses are quick and convenient.

Source: 10 Breastfeeding Superfoods

I have two caveats for the list:

  1. Spinach/Swiss chard/broccoli are high in vitamin K.  The article mentions these for calcium but sardines, tofu and sesame seeds are a better source.  Soy beans and lentils are a better source of iron too.
  2. Be aware of the arsenic concern associated with rice