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Iron-Rich Foods & the Gluten-Free Diet

Recently I was told by my doctor that I have Anemia. Anemia is common among those with Celiac Disease, though mine is most likely self-inflicted, at least at this point in time. I have been donating blood this year and it seems as if I may need to take a break. Labor Day weekend was the 3rd time this year that I donated. Since then I have been tired and run down. I expected that for a week or two, but not this long. Additionally, my menstrual cycles are off, which is what lead to the testing to begin with. I opted to try iron rich foods for the next few weeks before looking to iron supplements. My stomach doesn’t do well with iron supplements, so I hope that this works. I will repeat my blood test in 1-2 months to check on my levels.

After doing some research, here are some iron-rich foods that I already eat:

  • Kale/Spinach
  • Dried fruit (raisins, prunes, apricots)
  • Beans & lentils

Some foods iron-rich foods that I am adding:

  • Bison
  • Red meat – filet mignon
  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Vega Shake & Go Smoothie (30%-40% of the RDA for iron)*see my review below
  • Chia seeds

Last night I was piecing together dinner when I got a chance Рthe rest of the family had already eaten. I saut̩ed some kale & carrots in a touch of extra-virgin olive oil and added some black beans and gluten-free pasta for a huge pasta/veggie bowl. I tossed everything with some low-sodium soy sauce (La Choy is gluten-free) and then topped with some goat cheese. Awesome, iron-rich combo!


I can think of so many more combinations that would work well in this dish. I had the leftover kale & carrots with my lunch today. I had a tuna melt and spinach salad, which has become a lunch staple these days. I just read about how it is important to get enough vitamin C, as your body absorbs iron better with it.


I had the opportunity to sample the Vega Shake & Go Smoothies in the past month. There are 4 different varieties of the Shake & Go Smoothies:

  • Bodacious Berry
  • Vanilla Almondilla
  • Tropical Tango
  • Choc-A-Lot

I was able to sample all but the Tropical Tango. The shakes are simple to literally shake & go. Simply add 4 – 8 oz of water, shake & go. The flavors were tasty and the nutritional stats are good. Some of the additional benefits are listed below:

  • Two servings of veggies
  • 2500 mg Omega- 3-6-9
  • 11g complete protein
  • Only 100 calories
  • 1 billion probiotics cultures

The shakes are free from gluten, dairy, soy, corn, wheat & yeast and only have 6 grams of sugar per serving! Vega products can be purchased online or in stores (Whole Foods) across the US. I can see these shakes being useful during marathon training in addition to extra vitamin support while trying to get my iron level up.

7 comments to Iron-Rich Foods & the Gluten-Free Diet

  • Sophia

    I would consider an iron supplement. It is difficult to consume enough iron for women and many of the iron sources are not readily absorb-able for example the oxalates in greens bind with the iron making it difficult to absorb. If you decide to supplement, take supplement with a heme iron source (such as red meat) and consume with a vitamin C source. I was anemic (hgb – 8) again after being gluten free for several years and was very discouraged. I added red meat to my diet and supplemented and have been fine since. I take the Ferrous Sequels supplements (labeled gluten free) they are ferrous gluconate which is not as strong (not sure if that is the right word may be as absorb-able as) ferrous sulfate but it has a stool softener in it. It is very well tolerated. Good luck.

  • Kim


    Thank you so much for the information on Ferrous Sequels. I will definitely look into that. My hgb was 11 and I guess it should be over 12.


  • Marisa

    There are also now enteric-coated iron tablets that are easier on the stomach.

  • Meg

    Great iron info! Be sure to eat with Vitamin C, like mentioned above, but do not take with dairy – the calcium cancels the iron absorption. Good luck!

  • Abigail

    I have been struggling with iron deficit as well. My body did not respond well to the iron from my primary doctor. However, my chiropractor recommended Ferrofood supplement, and I have felt so much better! So, you may find that a more natural iron supplement works better with your system.

  • earthmama24

    In regards to the comment about dairy, this is true about cow but not goat. Goat's milk has actually been proven to help with iron absorption. Google it.

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