One common reason people can be deferred from giving blood is for having a low hemoglobin level. Hemoglobin is a protein that carries iron in the body. The iron is essential for replenishing your red cells after you give a pint of blood during donation. Even if you have enough hemoglobin for yourself, you must have enough extra to give away if you’re going to qualify to donate blood. To put this into perspective, the body of an average-sized man contains 12 pints of blood and an average-sized woman’s contains nine pints, according to the American Society of Hematology. While losing a pint of blood doesn’t sound like much, that ends up being about eight percent of a man’s total amount of blood and 11 percent of a woman’s.
To help your body maintain a healthy level of iron, make sure you eat iron-rich foods before and after you donate blood. Below is a recipe for some DELICIOUS whole-grain waffles with cherry sauce that provide 35 percent of the recommended daily allowance of iron, making it the perfect breakfast to restore your red cells after a blood drive!
Whole-Grain Waffles with Cherry Sauce
2 cups fresh or frozen pitted cherries
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups low-fat or nonfat buttermilk
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine cherries, water, honey, cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute. Set aside.
Whisk whole-wheat flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Lightly beat eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla; whisk until well blended. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
Preheat a Belgian-style waffle iron. Lightly coat it with cooking spray. Add enough batter to cover about two-thirds of the surface (about 2/3 cup); distribute evenly with a spatula. Close and cook until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter, using more cooking spray as needed. Warn the cherry sauce over medium heat until hot and bubbling; serve with waffles.
Makes 6 servings