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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vegan Blood is a Hot Commodity

I have been a blood donor for a few years. I always donate to the American Red Cross. I have exhausted every other option where I live and the Red Cross is literally the only place within an hour that takes blood and provides it to hospitals. The hospitals will not take direct donation, either. The Red Cross is not my favorite, but if you have a bad taste in your mouth about them, look into some improvements they've made in recent years. For me, the need for blood outweighs the ickiness of the organization. There is no substitution for blood and people die without transfusions. But that's not what this post is about.

Vegan blood is awesome blood! As a vegetarian, I often got turned away from blood donation for iron being too low. As I took each step closer to being vegan, my iron has been off the charts. Since last Fall until now, my iron has been over 14 and the requirement for women is 12.5. The technician is always really impressed and it is so validating.

I rarely going to the doctor, but donating blood is like getting a little physical every two months. I find out that my iron is at healthy levels, I don't have HIV, and my pulse is normal. Blood donation has also given me some red flags. I found out that I have slightly low blood pressure. Last time I tried to give, my veins were flat from dehydration that I was unaware of. Yesterday, I tried to donate and found out that I have a fever. Tadaa, I'm sick!

I believe that vegan blood is some of the healthiest. Our iron levels tend to be great because of all the leafy green vegetables we consume (and for me also, my prenatal vitamin). Also, I have heard that blood that has too much fat or sugar cannot be used, and this analysis is not done until after the donation has been made. I'm sure this is not a problem for most vegans. I am totally guessing, but we are kind of super heroes, so I think we must regenerate blood quickly, as well.

If you want any information on the process of giving blood, please ask! It is something very worthwhile to consider. Unfortunately some people are limited. If you are a person with male genitalia who has had sex with someone with male genitalia, or if you have ever been to Africa, they will reject you. Again, I am not at all ok with that, but I do it because people will die if I do not give blood. If you are an African-American, however, your blood is in high demand because it is more likely to be a match for someone suffering from sickle cell anemia.

I mostly do whole blood donation, but also apheresis once which is a longer more involved process for platelet donation. This usually goes to cancer patients.

Give some healthy vegan blood!

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