You may not know this, but during pregnancy the amount of blood in your body increases to almost 50% more than usual! As more blood is made, more hemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to other cells) is needed, and iron is absolutely essential for this purpose. Iron deficiency, or anemia, is not uncommon during pregnancy, whether you are vegan or an omnivore.
While I supplement my iron through my daily prenatal vitamin (as recommended by my doctor), I also like to make sure that I’m eating plenty of iron-rich foods to keep little Squid and myself happy and healthy. One of the surprising foods that have entered my life, thanks to this pregnancy, is blackstrap molasses!
Blackstrap molasses is the dark liquid byproduct of the process of refining sugar cane into table sugar. It is a concentrated byproduct of sugar and, therefore, it has a very, very intense taste! I find that people tend to either love the smoky, bittersweet taste implicit in dishes like baked beans and gingerbread, or (like me) they find it too intense to handle. I was a self-confessed molasses hater at first but, with advice from books like “Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide” I decided that it’s health benefits were just too numerous to pass up. A meager 2 teaspoons a day provides you with 13.3% of your daily recommended value for iron AND 11.8% of your daily recommended value of calcium! Hot damn!
Well, of course, I jumped face-first into Team Molasses, adding it to my cereal, cookies, pancakes, coffee, you name it! Hell, I even tried eating it straight off the spoon! I. Do. Not. Recommend. This.
Instead, try starting by stirring it into your oatmeal (it tastes like Fall!) or adding it to warm non-dairy milk for a yummy chai-like steamer. Or, if you’re feeling very feisty, try this incredible gingerbread smoothie! The name alone makes it worth it 😉
Any other favorite ways of enjoying molasses out there? I’m definitely open for suggestions!