1. Throughout the month of February, I kept getting random bruises on my legs. They seemed to show up out of nowhere, and, in an incredible twist of events, (<- sarcasm), I assumed it meant I was moments away from death (this, despite having been to the doctor in late January and getting perfectly normal results on the complete blood count portion of my annual blood work). I decided to go to the doctor again, hoping they’d tell me I had a vitamin deficiency but assuming they’d tell me I had cancer, because that’s generally always my assumption at the doctor.
I got my results two days later, and unsurprisingly, I didn’t develop lymphoma over the course of three weeks. I did, however, find out that I’m iron deficient. (Iron being a mineral rather than a vitamin, so it’s not a vitamin deficiency even if it’s in the same vein.)
I can’t say it’s totally out of left field that I’m iron deficient, despite that not being on my radar prior to getting my results back. I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, and when I do eat meat, it’s almost never red meat. I’ve also never paid any mind to whether or not I paired vegetarian sources of iron with vitamin C, which is apparently important to get that type of iron (non-heme, as opposed to heme, which comes from animals) to absorb.
I have to take an iron supplement now to get my iron stores back to where they should be, but I also need to start being a lot more conscientious about my dietary iron intake, which puts me in a bit of a bind. My cholesterol is higher than it should be, so I’m supposed to avoid red meat, but since my iron is lower than it should be, I’m supposed to eat…more red meat. I’m not really sure what’s expected out of me here?? I think I need to set up an appointment with a dietician (probably after I hit my insurance deductible), because I could really use some help in figuring out how to navigate this high cholesterol/low iron situation I’ve found myself in.
2. In an effort to raise my iron levels (not really, but it did was a nice coincidence!), I crossed a big item off my Chicago bucket list on Saturday: dinner at Girl and the Goat.
(I’m annoyed that I did such a terrible job composing this picture *facepalm emoji*)
Truthfully, I didn’t know a whole lot about Girl and the Goat beyond the basics: that it’s Stephanie Izard (of Top Chef)’s restaurant, and that you usually have to make a reservation two or three months in advance if you want to get in. Imagine my utter delight, then, on February 20 when I was looking for reservations in May and instead found one remaining 4:45 p.m. slot on March 2 instead!
I now understand what people mean when they talk about the best meal of their lives, because this was, hands down, the best of mine. Every single dish, from the bread at the beginning to dessert at the end, was mind-blowing. I didn’t know it was possible for food to be so delicious. It was easily the best dining experience I’ve ever had, and I’m so glad I decided to make going a priority. It was more than worth the food coma I had for the remainder of the night.
3. Another highlight of Saturday: visiting the Garfield Park Conservatory!
I wrote a whole post about the conservatory last year, so I’ll spare you the nitty gritty details this time around. This was a spontaneous trip: other plans I had Saturday got cancelled, so I figured, why not? I had seen on Facebook earlier that day that it was the last weekend to see a few of the palms in the Palm Room (they had outgrown the space, and since you can’t very well transplant a palm tree outside in Chicago, they needed to cut them down so other plants could get sunlight again. They had also outlived their normal lifespan–one of them was 93 years old!–so it was time.), so I saw them one last time.
The Spring Flower Show is going on right now, so I reveled in the tulips and daffodils for a long time. Honestly, I could’ve looked at them all afternoon. I can’t wait for them to start popping up outside, too!
This trip to the conservatory also gave me a chance to see the sprouting Century Agave in the Desert House.
I read an article in Block Club Chicago a few weeks ago about the agave and was really curious about it. Century Agave only bloom once in their lives, which is what this one is doing right now. It sends up a stalk that will grow to insane heights (like, 30 feet insane), bloom, and then the whole plant will die because this whole process takes so much energy. It’s a little tough to see in the picture, but there’s a rope hanging next to the stalk that shows you how much it’s grown over time. At the time of the Block Club Chicago article, there was one weekend where it grew ELEVEN INCHES! In one weekend! Can you imagine?!
Anyway, it was the perfect weekend to go to the conservatory, between the agave and the palms, though I’d argue any winter weekend is a perfect weekend to go to the conservatory. It’s such a nice escape from the misery that is January through March around here.