Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Bloody Miracle

Last summer, I was in the car with BFF riding shotgun. As I glanced to my right to gauge oncoming traffic, I noticed a small band-aid on her arm.

"What happened there?" I asked casually. She quickly wrapped her arm behind her back and replied quietly "Nothing."

"You gave blood didn't you!" I unleashed my holy wrath. I was genuinely pissed for like a half a second because that's about how long I stay mad at her anyways.

"Kind of," she said, and of course we laughed. But I was green with envy. At that point, I had been trying to clear the iron test for over 6 months, to no avail. What I didn't know then was that even though I would go back each month to the local blood bank, I would be repeatedly rejected. What I could have guessed was that I would make it my mission to elevate my iron levels -- through nutrition -- but I would never have imagined that it would take me until yesterday to get the chance to donate.

Folks, I f-ing did it.

I don't really want to talk about the vegan challenge because my feelings on how I came to pass the iron test are not up for debate. I mentioned it briefly here, Rebecca was with me. Lifelong carnivores, we undertook an unusual challenge based on recent research and documentaries: for 21 days we ate a vegan diet and for the 7 days since, I have continued.

So finally, after one month of eating a [okay-except-for-that-one-lobster-roll-on-the-Cape] completely plant-based diet, I have managed to achieve iron levels previously untouched by all manner of meat consumption. In fact, though the requirement is a level of 12.5 to donate, mine was 13.4 and it's a Christmas miracle. It has never -- except for once more than 10 years ago -- cleared 11.6.

But I am not here to promote veganism because, frankly, I don't give a shit whether you eat meat or not. I may choose to lighten my footprint on the animals of the Earth, but carry on with your business and do what you want. I am busy taking care of me because I am selfish like that.

But I think it is worth mentioning, to those who feel like a cheeseburger or steak are the answers to all of the world's iron problems, I have another idea for you. Try plants.
 I believe in donating blood. I believe in taking the 30 minutes out of your month to offer something lifesaving to a fellow human in crisis. And while I believe that if you choose to eat a plant-based diet, you will feel more connected to the Earth, mostly I believe that if you choose to donate blood you will feel more connected to humanity.
Connection, no matter how you choose to find it, is a rare and beautiful gift.

Visit The American Red Cross to find a blood drive near you.

*Photography by my 5 year old daughter and Red Cross mascot, Patience

1 comment:

  1. Fanabulous! Congratulations! Go you! What a rockstar. This makes me beam because this is ALL you!!!