I have been a vegan for many years now (okay fine, I do cheat for a dessert on rare occasion) and my two children are both vegetarian. People most often ask me, where do you get your protein and how do you ensure you are getting enough iron in your family’s diet? The protein question makes me laugh as the North American diet is chalked full of protein and almost all foods have some amount of protein even if it’s very small. The iron question is a bit harder to answer and having had a bad bleeding issue once due to a botched minor procedure, I do know what it is like to be iron deficient.
I am quiet careful with my own diet but let’s be real, my children are not chowing down on leafy greens or dried fruit and nuts at all of their meals so it can be more challenging for them. When I first heard about the Lucky Iron Fish, I was intrigued. Founded through a research initiative at Guelph University, the little fish is said to release 4-7 mg of iron per use, which is approximately the same amount you would get from a small steak. On top of that, it is a gentle dose that is more easily absorbed by the body and does not lead to a common side effect of iron supplementation - upset tummy.
I also like that the organization is a social enterprise and a Certified B corporation which provides Lucky Iron Fish for families in need through their non-profit partners. The fish is made of cast iron (just like your favourite cast iron pan in your kitchen) and is manufactured locally at a foundry in Bowmanville, Ontario.
So how does this little fish work?
It’s actually quite simple. Boil your fish for 10 minutes in 1 litre of water or broth and then use the water or broth as you like. There is no added taste or flavour of any kind so you can simply drink the water (once cooled of course) or add whatever you like to the broth. You can even use that water or broth to cook things like rice or Quinoa.
Even though the instructions are quite clear, don’t make the same mistake I did and assume you could boil the fish with say pasta and reap the same benefits. You can’t. If you are going to use the fish with something like that, make sure the whole litre of water is going to be absorbed. The magic to the fish is the 10-minute boil in the 1 litre of water, so it really is best to drink the water straight up to get the full dosage of iron.
My 9 year old son was absolutely intrigued by the fish and what is does so he keeps asking if we have any of the “fish water”. That’s a win if there ever was one!
I think the only real limitation to the fish is that it is a two-step process in that you need to boil the water first (and you can only use a litre at a time) and then use the water a second time. This isn’t really relevant if you are just using the water for drinking, but would be if you wanted to turn around and use it to cook with. If you prepare a batch of iron-infused water, you can simply use it anytime a recipe calls for liquid or to cook staples like rice, quinoa, oatmeal - just keep in mind you would personally need to consume the entire litre in order to get the full 4-7mg of iron.
The Lucky Iron Fish is a great addition to my kid’s supplementation and I will continue to use it along with my cast iron pan. If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive way to add iron to your diet or you have had challenges with traditional iron supplements in the past, the Lucky Iron Fish is a great option.
**FULL DISCLOSURE: A Lucky Iron Fish was given to me for the purpose of writing this review, however, the opinions I have shared above are my own.
Healthy Moms Discount Cardholders can save 20% off a purchase of a Lucky Iron Fish but only for a limited time. After this special two week limited time offer, cardholders will still receive 10% off their first order. Find out more here.