I donated blood at a blood drive yesterday. I used to give blood frequently as a teenager and young adult, but once I got married and started having kids, that little hobby got set aside. I was always either pregnant, nursing, or otherwise too busy.
But yesterday everything finally aligned and I had nothing to prevent me from donating blood, so off I went.
I actually had a great time. An older gentleman that I know was there at the same time. I found out that he gives blood so regularly that he and some of his friends have a competition each time to see who can fill their blood-collection bags the fastest. My friend filled his bag yesterday in 4 minutes and 16 seconds, beating his personal best by more than half a minute.
I found the whole thing hilarious.
My time was 5 minutes and 8 seconds, by the way.
At the snack table, I asked him if he had any tips and tricks to get the blood to run faster. Amusingly, he actually did, and shared them with me. I aim to beat my time the next time I donate blood.
This story was actually going somewhere. The snack table was stocked with individual packages of cookies and crackers, standard fare for a blood drive. I had a bag of raisins, but I felt that I deserved to be a little more “naughty” than usual, so I also grabbed a cookie. It was the kind of thing that would have appealed to me a great deal before switching to my healthier diet. Chocolate-covered crispy wafer cookies sandwiched with a creamy filling.
I expected to love that cookie, packaged and processed though it was. A few months ago I would have loved it. But I didn’t even like it. It was sickeningly sweet. It tasted fake. The texture of the cream filling was grainy and almost greasy. My tastes have changed so much since changing my diet, that I literally couldn’t stand this nasty, trans-fatty, processed chunk of sugary grossness, even though it was something I used to greatly enjoy.
Plus I was awake half the night, being reminded by my digestive system that my body didn’t really care for that stupid cookie either.
Next time I donate blood (and there will be a next time, and I will fill my bag faster!), I plan to bring my own snacks. Energy bites, perhaps.
Apricot Coconut Energy Bites
Makes 20 2-tbsp bites
1 cup almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup dried apricots
1 tsp vanilla
Water as needed
Combine almonds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds in bowl of food processor. Pulse until crumbs form.
Add coconut, dates, apricots, and vanilla, and process until well combined. If the mixture is not holding together well, slowly drizzle in water while processing until desired texture is achieved (mixture starts to ball together a bit, and holds its shape when you squish some together in your hand).
Roll into balls. I like to use my 2-tbsp cookie scoop to get bites of uniform size. Store in refrigerator.