5 Iron-Rich Snacks & Treats for Holiday Parties

The holiday season is upon us and this often means many parties, potlucks, and social gatherings. So, if you’re going to bring a yummy treat to share, why not give the gift of iron? Here are a few ideas for you:

(1 cup black beans = 9.7 mg of iron)

Substituting black beans into a cake recipe is not only healthier and gets you closer to your daily iron intake goals, but it’s also delicious, believe it or not! There are tons of black bean cake recipes available online, but see below for one of my favourites!

1-15 ounce can of unseasoned black beans
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of honey or other sweetener + 1/2 teaspoon pure stevia extract
6 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of water (omit if using honey)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease a 9 cake pan with extra virgin olive oil, or a thin layer of butter.
Drain and rinse beans. Shake off excess water.
Place beans, 3 of the eggs, vanilla, stevia and salt into blender. Blend on high until beans are completely liquefied. Whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder.
Beat butter with sweetener until light and fluffy.
Add remaining two eggs, beating for a minute after each.
Pour bean batter into egg mixture and mix.
Finally, stir in cocoa powder and water (if using), and beat the batter on high for one minute, until smooth.
Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 40-45 minutes.
Cake is done with the top is rounded and firm to the touch.

(1 cup sweet potato cubed = 0.8 mg of iron)

I bet that you can’t have just one of these delicious chips. It’s okay to indulge in this snack because it’s a healthier alternative and also contains some iron! Just slice, lightly cover with extra light olive oil, season with pepper, and bake!

(1 cup dry oatmeal = 29.9 mg of iron)

Instead of pairing this classic recipe with chocolate chips (although one of my personal favourites), which can inhibit the absorption of iron, try adding dried nuts like almonds (1 cup ground = 3.5 mg if iron) or dried fruit like apricots (1 cup = 7.5 mg of iron) or raisins (1 cup = 3.1 mg of iron).

(100 grams of gingerbread = 2.9 mg of iron)

When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with gingerbread cookies; a holiday classic! Much of the iron contents come from the chewy, ooey-gooey ingredient molasses (1/2 cup = 7.95 mg of iron).

(1 cup mashed bananas = 0.6 mg of iron ; 1 cup mixed nuts = 3.5 mg of iron)

This serves well as a desert loaf (or even as a slice for breakfast the morning after) and the mixed nuts help to kick up the iron content! Just be mindful with this one because, depending on the recipe, this loaf can be high in fat and calories. Slice into small portions and serve.

Happy holidays and happy snacking!

The Three Stages of Iron Deficiency


World Blood Donor Day

Blood Donation Day June 14 (IronMaiden Website)

Sunday, June 14th is World Blood Donor Day as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). I’ve written in the past about my need for blood donation and the importance of post-donation iron supplementation for those who donate blood regularly.

For those who donate blood, I am forever grateful for your help when I was in need. Thank you for saving my life.

In celebration of World Blood Donor Day and those who donate, here is an infographic for you showing the importance of blood donation.

Happy World Blood Donor Day!



































Content and advice provided on The Iron Maiden is for information purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for a licensed health care provider, who is knowledgeable about an individual’s unique health care needs











Let’s Talk Kids…

Children are our future, and we want to give them the best possible shot to be all they can be. However, you’d be surprised to find out that a good number of our young people are actually iron deficient! Based on small recent studies, it’s estimated that almost 12-64% of them are iron deficient!

Is your child at risk?

You may be wondering why so many kids are suffering from iron deficiency. Commonly, for children between the ages of 9 months and 3 years and also during puberty, this can be explained by their growing bodies. Literally, they’re growing, and rapid growth creates a need for increased blood volume (and iron). If children are not absorbing enough iron from their diet, the body may not be able to keep up with the new increased demands. There are other reasons that children at various ages can develop iron deficiency – take a look at all of the child risk groups here.

Iron deficiency not only impacts children in Canada but also children abroad. By the numbers, iron deficiency anemia affects almost 750 million children worldwide. That’s a lot of children who are not getting enough iron, especially since iron deficiency is preventable!

So what happens if a child is iron deficient?

Well, iron deficiency can not only cause your child to feel tired or lethargic and reduce their exercise tolerance, but various studies have shown that untreated iron deficiency can have a significant impact on a child’s cognitive function. A child with iron deficiency may experience changes in their behavior including issues concentrating, learning disabilities, and/or reduced emotional responsiveness.

There are ways to prevent and treat iron deficiency

Add more iron-rich foods (like iron-fortified cereals, poultry, fish, etc…) into your child’s diet. Even if you have a picky eater, there are ways to get around this! Check out my 10 clever ways to get more iron into your child’s diet without them even knowing!

If diet alone is not enough, you could also introduce a pediatric formulated iron supplement (liquids or powders). Learn about the different pediatric iron supplements and talk to your doctor/pharmacist for more information on choosing the right one for your child.

There are effective options for treating iron deficiency, but the key is to stay aware and know how to recognize the symptoms to ensure you can take the best next steps to prevent iron deficiency in your children.

Five Fast Facts about Iron Deficiency

Here are five fast facts about iron deficiency that you may not have known:

  1. Approximately 5% of Canadian children aged 1 to 5 suffer from iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia. Is your child at risk?
  2. Hemoglobin levels of 12 – 17 g/dl for females and 13 – 18 g/dl for males is considered normal. Check out what tests you can expect when screening for iron deficiency
  3. It is estimated that 20% of women of childbearing age are iron deficient and 50% of pregnant women develop iron deficiency. Find out why women need iron throughout their entire lifetime
  4. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that 2 billion people are anemic, many due to iron deficiency. That’s more than 30% of the world’s population! Did you know that iron deficiency is preventable? Find out what you can do
  5. According to a paper published in the Cardiology Journal Heart, iron deficiency is present in 30 – 50% of patients with heart failure and has been associated with poorer medical outcomes including a higher risk of death. Find out more about the connection between iron deficiency and your heart




Content and advice provided on The Iron Maiden is for information purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for a licensed health care provider, who is knowledgeable about an individual’s unique health care needs

Iron Articles Just for Mom

Throughout the month of May we are honouring women – mothers in particular. Moms do A LOT for their families, and it’s important that they take time for themselves once in a while and ensure that their health is in check too! Iron deficiency can affect one’s entire family, but women and children are among the highest groups at-risk for developing this preventable condition.

So, I wanted to pull together handpicked articles for mom around iron deficiency and iron needs as well as some tips and information around iron and her children. Let’s get to it!

Continue reading

The Iron Maiden: The 10 Most Popular Posts

My goal is and always has been to empower my patients to be health care consumers rather than be consumed by health care. It is so important to be well informed and contribute to the process that determines the direction one’s care takes.

This is why I am so happy to use this platform to help spread awareness and educate people just like you! Since I’ve been blogging on The Iron Maiden for a little over 7 months now, some people have been asking me what the “most popular” articles are. So, I’m going to count down the 10 most popular posts – whether you’ve been following my blog for a while or are a new reader, these are the articles you don’t want to miss!

Continue reading

The Calcium Controversy: Does it Inhibit Iron Absorption or Not?

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while then chances are that you’ve seen a mention or two about iron absorption inhibitors, including calcium. This is a bit of a controversial topic since some say that calcium greatly impacts iron absorption and others say it doesn’t. It can get a little confusing when you’re getting conflicting information, so I thought it would be worth discussing further.

There is some evidence to support the impact of calcium on iron absorption, albeit from short-term studies focused on this interaction with single meals. On the other hand, long-term studies have found that calcium and milk products don’t have any adverse effect on iron absorption.

Continue reading

Iron Deficiency Should Be Looked For During Regular Screening

Iron deficiency, which can cause a slew of health problems, is easily treated yet remains the most common nutritional deficiency in the world!

Iron deficiency can affect people differently, with symptoms including anemia, weakness, headaches, irritability, shortness of breath, reduced exercise tolerance, lack of cognitive function, etc. A paper published in the Journal of Hematology and Thrombotic Diseases (Oct 2014) says that correcting iron deficiency can improve symptoms and quality of life in those living with chronic disease, including (but not limited to):  Continue reading

Kelly: From the Challenges of Iron Deficiency to an IronMan Challenger

My name is Kelly and I am iron deficient. My iron levels were never great after the birth of my first child. The blood loss was massive, the doctors pondered my need for a blood transfusion and prescribed me ferrous sulfate to help out. It brought my levels up enough, but I had low iron levels from then on; never low enough to cause alarm, but enough (I would think) to play havoc with my energy levels.

  Continue reading

Iron & Your Heart Part 1: Chronic Iron Deficiency

We’ve been talking about heart-related issues in honour of Heart Month, and this particular article may be among the most important of all because it will give you a look into the impact of iron deficiency anemia on your heart.

I want to ask you a question: How quickly would you get yourself to a doctor after experiencing symptoms of iron deficiency? Now, how quickly would you get yourself to a doctor if you were experiencing symptoms of an acute heart disease? A lot quicker, right?

Continue reading

Interesting Heart Facts In Light Of Heart Month

If you didn’t already know, February is Heart Month as marked by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Right now in Canada, heart disease and stroke take one life every 7 minutes and 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor. Started in 1958, Heart Month is an opportunity to raise awareness of the risks of heart disease and stroke.

I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about heart month on my blog, raise awareness for the cause, and also discuss the relation between iron deficiency anemia and your heart. Throughout February, you’ll see this theme reflected in my posts!

Continue reading

In the News – Whole Grains

Whole grains have been given a bad rap in recent years because of the whole gluten-free craze. Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware of some people’s needs to eat gluten-free and I’m happy to see this craze leading to a bunch of new options for people. The reason I refer to it as a craze though, is that unless you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or some other medical issue that requires you to avoid gluten; whole grains are actually an extremely important part of a healthy diet!

Continue reading