Tuesday, February 10

Dog Days

Faces of Team Dicky was pretty good yesterday. I couldn't tell if that was my hair or Neil's.

Yes, the frame geometry stuff was boring yesterday. I warned you. I wasn't gonna get all "Bicycling Magazine" on you and use creative similes and metaphors (Has anybody actually ever seen a scalded monkey climb? Who's the demented primate hater going around scalding monkeys anyways?) to describe a frame that still only exists on paper. Look for a more animated review once I put parts on the 3-D titanium manifestation of what, as of now, is only an idea.

I got a call from my doctor's office last Friday. Some of you with long term memory abilities might remember that I had a physical last Tuesday. Anyways, I got the "Mr Dillen, all your numbers looked good, but...."


That word hardly went in my ears without a twinge of angst. The doc says my iron level is low, and that means I'm a-n-e-m-i-c. Awesome. Before anybody points out the obvious, yes this is somewhat linked to my vegetarian lifestyle, but let me explain. I have not been the most thorough vegetarian, and I figured something might slip through the cracks. If you want to read through this article for a better explanation than I can give, have at it. The gist of it is that my lifestyle (endurance racing, commuting, "training", vegetarian, what-not) puts some demands on my iron needs that I failed to address.

"Many men and women who engage in regular, intense exercise such as jogging, competitive swimming, and cycling have marginal or inadequate iron status"

"Three groups of athletes may be at greatest risk of iron depletion and deficiency: female athletes, distance runners, and vegetarian athletes."

Insert the "F WORD" here.

The good news is that it can be dealt with, and it's hardly a major issue like a million other things that could go wrong with a human body. Iron supplements and increasing my intake of Vitamin C to allow the absorption of more iron are the first steps. The bad news is that I need to cut back on coffee or stop drinking it altogether (today is day three without coffee). I only drink a small 4 cup pot every morning, but knowing that it is hindering my health is enough reason to let it go. I've already had to deal with the guilt of drinking a recreational beverage that has some environmental and labor issue concerns, not to mention it's the world's most commonly traded commodity after crude oil. Maybe a cup here or there, but it can no longer be a daily habit. Oh well, I still have beer. If at some point I have to choose between beer and health....

Since I've been a vegetarian for ten months I kinda figure this mighta been affecting me last summer as well, especially when I was riding a shit ton more, and traveling (thus eating like shit on the road). At least going into this year I'm aware of what's going on, and I have plenty of time to turn this boat around before I get into the stormy seas of the "season".

I'm sure people are gonna wanna chime in with veggie advice, meat lover "I told you so's", and holistic crystal rubbing suggestions. Have at it. Just know I have a plan, and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be fine with it. I'm not gonna go back to eating meat when I know the answer to my problem is pretty gosh darn simple (See how calm I am? I went from the "F bomb" to gosh darn).

Just in case that all seemed kinda glum and boring here is a picture of a puppy The Pie has been bottle feeding.

This little girl is the sole survivor of a litter of eight, and although she doesn't necessarily look like a dog we have been re-assured that she is, in fact, a dog.

Back to nonsense tomorrow, I promise.

And a friendly reminder:

The Breck Epic site still does not have all the blogger info up yet, but you can go vote for your favorite three bloggers if you already know who you want to send to the Breck Epic. Go here and vote, or go here and wait for more info if you wanna be a knowledgeable voter.


springer said...

Good luck with the Iron.

Manicmtbr said...

Spinach is a good source of iron and I hear that broccoli is too. Thanks for the tips about Vitamin C - - I did not know that one. Looking forward to other responses as I am in the same veg boat, but only for the last 6 weeks or so.

What is it about the coffee that is bad?

dicky said...

While spinach is a great source, ONE WHOLE BAG is only 30% of you RDA, and it is nonheme. Check out the list in part two:

Somewhere in there (and on a few other sites I checked) coffee is mentioned as one of the things that inhibit iron absorption. Funny (not really) thing is that soy is on the list too.


Anonymous said...

Quote /

Iron. Vegetarian athletes are at greater risk for having low iron stores. Because iron is needed to help the muscles get oxygen, it is crucial for endurance athletes to monitor this through routine blood tests. Female athletes more than males are affected because of the monthly blood loss from menstruation (if they are menstruating). Be sure to include good non-animal sources of iron including spinach, broccoli, almonds, oatmeal and iron fortified cereals. Drinking orange juice (or another source of vitamin C) with these foods can help the body absorb more iron.

End Quote

Also, Google Iron injections for info. This speeds up the process of increasing your iron levels but can have side effects.

I eat meats, fish, breads, fruits, nuts, and there always has to be veggies in 2 of 3 to 4 meals per day. Also, I don't drink soda, redbull or coffee; - vanity.

sevets said...

Eat the dog. He is full of iron.

Big Bikes said...

Here I go with the chiming in...
I was a Vegetarian for 22 years, Vegan for 11 of those. I did just recently give it up (just a phase I'm going through). I had major surgery during that time and had to give several pints of blood (I think four in a month) in case the surgery went horrible awry and they needed give me a transfusion (like blood doping!).

To keep my Iron count high during that process I was eating Black Strap Molasses by the spoonful. You can't beat it and it really isn't all that gross...especially when served on Vegan pancakes.

dicky said...


I saw black strap molasses on the list.
Pretty high for such a small dose:

Molasses, blackstrap
1 tablespoon 3.5mg 20%

Gotta try it I guess.

mandy said...

Try some Yellow Dock herbal supplements from the health food store. The herb has iron that's easily absorbed by the body. Worked great for me when i became anemic during while pregnant.

cornfed said...

I wonder how much iron you'll absorb when I shove my surly up your @$$! Steel is full of iron.

Anonymous said...

get you a cold IRON CITY beer and a big fat ribeye!

Anonymous said...

get you a cold IRON CITY and a big fat ribeye! rabbit foods fore the birds.

Peter said...

your doctor is wrong.

problem solved.

feel better?


indiefab said...

Without measuring your iron content with a ferritin, TIBC and percent iron saturation, your doc shouldn't say you are iron deficient. These aren't part of a normal screening test. A simple CBC with differential isn't enough. Ask for all the lab results and look for these. As a kidney specialist, I take care of tons of anemic people and give lots iron and EPO.

I'd be happy to check your results. Drop me a line at doctorno at gmail dot com if you want.
Ryan Norman, D.O.
Springfield, MO

Anonymous said...

Ditto on indiefab's comment. One of Tina Pic's teammates (Womens Clinic at Uptown Ttl Cyclist) had very low iron count of stored iron (serum ferritin) but had high level of what she called floating iron (in the blood); the latter caused by the former. She (Laura) said (like indiefab) that a more detailed iron analysis provides a better health assessment. She also said that certain iron supplements are better absorbed that others but was not able to remember a specific supplement ingredient (or name).

LyndaW said...

I was a vegetarian for 7 years. Swallowing my self-righteous vegetarian attitude was much harder than swallowing the beef when I started partaking again.

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't feel bad about eating meat, even animals do it.

Just remember: