I donated blood for the first time today.  It was really simple and the whole process only took about an hour.  Plus you get free cookies! (Of course there were no vegan-friendly ones, so I took a package for the road to give to my niece).  I was afraid my iron levels would be too low since I’m not eating meat, but levels were high so the iron I’m getting from beans and kale and spinach seem to be doing the trick!

It’s so incredibly easy to do and feels amazing to know you’re helping someone’s life.  There was a tiny prick when the needle first went in but then I couldn’t feel a thing and just sat in the comfy chair for five minutes while my blood collected in the bag.  The nurse said this was extremely fast – most people need at least ten minutes to get the full amount of blood.  She praised me for this and made me feel really good about myself (when really I wasn’t doing anything more than sitting in this comfortable chair watching What Not to Wear).

I thought of the people I love in my life and how I would donate blood for them in a second.  The blood I donated today will go to somebody out there in need who’s loved by someone – and that feels really good.  I’m going to start going regularly (the maximum is once every 56 days).

Here are some facts I found from Canadian Blood Services and American Red Cross:

-Only 2.7% of eligible British Columbians give blood, which is the lowest percentage in Canada and yet over 50% of us will need blood or blood products in our lifetime.

-The #1 reason donors say they give blood is because they “want to help others”

-Two most common reasons cited by people who don’t give blood are: “Never thought about it” and “I don’t like needles”

-If you began donating blood at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially helping save over 1,000 lives!

-One out of every 10 people admitted in a hospital needs blood

-Three teaspoons of blood can save a baby’s life

-One donation has the potential to save as many as three lives

-You lose one pound each time you donate blood because you give 1 pint (16 ounces) of blood in one donation

*Check out Canadian Blood Services for a clinic near you and see if you’re eligible.  It’s worth it – help save lives and ensure that there will be a supply of blood there for you if needed in the future!

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On another note, being vegan it’s going just fine.  I miss Boursin cheese and had to sit on the opposite end of the table from the bacon and sausages during family brunch the other day ’cause it smelled so good (but then I reminded myself of the PETA video I’d watched and talked about here and felt great about my opting for a second helping of hashbrowns instead of ham).

I’ll post more about what is is I am eating next week.  So far a lot of baked beans, guacamole, and salads with chickpeas for protein.  My skin started improving after about five days, until I drank a pitcher of Blue Buck last night and then skin took two steps backward.  Ah, well what can ya do.

I feel good about taking more caution in what I’m eating and thinking more about how each ingredient affects me.  The phrase You Are What You Eat has never felt more true than it does for me right now during this food learning adventure.

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