become an iron woman // cacao smoothie

iron smoothie kaleinit

cacao + almond butter = iron!

she’s here! I mentioned last week that my nutrition guru/friend will be filling us in on all things iron (and other nutrients) – so, welcome Carly!

and please note that she seriously talks my EAR OFF about iron on the reg, therefore it’s only fair that you get to hear it as well…

hi! Carly here. I’m not cute like Kate so I didn’t have a clever intro planned. I’ll work on those!

I’m here to talk to you guys about iron. it’s a little embarrassing how excited I am about this. I stopped eating animals when I was 13 so I have been grilled about where I get my iron (among other nutrients) for a long ass time. I cannot express to you guys how thrilled I am every time I donate blood and they tell me my iron levels are “above average”. you’re damn right they are.

so, if you want great blood levels (goals?) let’s jump into the science and get you there.

the facts.

iron is important for a number of functions in your body. the first thing that most people think of when they hear about an iron deficiency, is fatigue. why? because our red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to the cells in our body that need it. the part of the cell that does the carrying, is called hemoglobin. when hemoglobin levels drop due to insufficient iron intake, cells do not receive the oxygen they need. the result = lethargy.

iron is also required for ATP production. I pinky promise not to bore you with the details of the Kreb’s Cycle and the electron transport chain, as much as I might want to. all you really need to know is that ATP is energy for your cells, and when it cannot be produced and subsequently broken down the result is….

(say it with me) fatigue and lethargy.

basically ladies and gents, iron is very important and you will be sleepy and physically exhausted without it. you will become the dark-under-eye-circle-laden vegan stereotype your Grandfather always knew you would become.

I really love shutting down misconceptions about plant based diets. I’ve have been hearing the same jokes at family parties for years, and I laugh along. but I continue to bite my tongue, knowing I’m able to wave my perfect blood test results in the air.

some important stats…

women and men have different RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of iron. where men need 8 mg/day women need 18 mg/day. so we can see why women have exponentially higher levels of anemia than men.

for adult men and women following a vegan diet it is recommended that daily intake is increased about 80% to 14.4 mg/day and 34.4 mg/day respectively. this might seem counter intuitive as the typical american diet is only estimated to offer 7 mg of iron per 1000 calories while a vegan diet offers much more. the increase is recommended due to the way our bodies absorb non heme vs heme iron.

a helpful tip.

one way to increase iron absorption is to pair your iron source with a vitamin C source. vitamin C increases iron absorption by up to 30%. plus, is anything cuter on a fresh kale salad than a few vibrant orange slices?

if you guys want a separate post with a list of iron rich plant-based foods, let Kate know! I’d be happy to.

in the mean time, here is an iron rich post-yoga-smoothie Kate and I whipped up last weekend:

iron smoothie kaleinit

// iron woman smoothie //

2 tbsp cashew/almond butter

8 oz. almond milk

1 Tbsp cacao magic from philosophie or plain cacao

1-2 frozen banana(s)

1 tsp chia seed

1 cup kale (or as much as you want!)

this smoothie packs in about 8 mg iron and 20 g protein. that’s about a third of your daily iron in one snack! that’s what I call #kaleinit.



isn’t she great? i can eat the trendy super foods, get my chocolate fix, AND beat feeling like a lethargic mess because of all that iron.

enjoy the FACTS, and this smoothie!

comment below any suggestions for future nutrition topics. have a question? ask! carly can answer, and I’ll bring a delicious recipe to the table.

as well as the cute intros.




  1. May 28, 2016 / 10:30 pm

    OMG, I have to try making this recipe asap!! I would love to add some maca powder in it as well 😀 Also, iron is SUPER important, I absolutely agree! I do think there are so many other sources that are way better than steak–think lentils, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and tempeh!

    • Kate
      May 28, 2016 / 11:09 pm

      exactly! you just named some amazing sources. no reason to stick to the steak haha.

      mmm adding maca sounds delicious!

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