I’m the type of person that, when I drive by a field of cows, I have to moo at them.
Why? … No freakin’ clue. But moo, I do.
Perhaps it is because I’ve always felt that we can be more connected to our food than we are, and that this connection is yet another aspect of how our food fuels us. An invisible way that hasn’t been measured yet (like nutrients or calories or fiber) – but nonetheless, it exists.
Calcium is something science has figured out how to measure. And thanks to (very) strong lobbying on the part of the dairy industry ensuring good income for dairy farmers, we all are very entrenched on believing that dairy is the sole best way to get calcium.
Dairy is *intended* for babies. Dairy allows tiny versions to grow quickly into larger versions of things. Arguably, it is not what nature intended for us when we are already full-grown adults. There are also a number of studies that have shown connections between dairy consumption and allergies, cancers, etc. Perhaps you are at the point where you are questioning the amount of dairy you consume, perhaps seeking to reduce it … you know… to that magical achievement of “in moderation”.
But … then, you feel in danger, because – how, oh how, will I ever get my CALCIUM??
This fear is a result of very good advertising campaigns by the dairy industry. They can proudly sit back and say they did their job. But, we CAN get all the calcium we need from plant sources
An excellent resource:
As you can see, GREENS can pack a powerful calcium punch. It’s not only white food that can be great sources of calcium. It’s as if we’ve connected the color “white” to calcium (thank you, advertising).
Dairy vs. Non-Dairy Food Sources of Calcium (excerpted from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=45)
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to eat dairy foods to get the calcium you need in your meal plan. Calcium is provided by a wide variety of foods, and in order to get 1,000 milligrams per day (the Dietary Reference Intake, or DRI for women and men 19-50 years of age), you don’t need cow’s milk, yogurt, cheese or butter. Consider some of the following examples:
- 3.2 ounces of sardines contains more than 340 milligrams of calcium, about 2.5 times that of 4 ounces of cow’s milk.
- 1 cup of steamed collards and 1 cup of cow’s milk are nearly identical in terms of calcium (with collards providing 266 milligrams and cow’s milk providing 276 milligrams)
- 100 calories worth of spinach provides you with twice as much calcium as 100 calories worth of yogurt
- 4 ounces of tofu, 2 TBS of sesame seeds, 1.5 cups of steamed collard greens, and 4 ounces of scallops provide you with 1,100 milligrams of calcium, or 110% DV. At the same time, these four foods only use up 394 calories, or about 22% of an 1,800-calorie meal plan.
Here is my favorite comfort-greens dish. I never thought there would be a dish that I would consider “comforting” that is made of greens … but, apparently anything really IS possible. Note this dish can be made with or without butter. I prefer the butter version for true indulgence but the key here is the butter is a supporting actor, added for fat (fat helps our bodies absorb certain nutrients from our foods), not added because of the calcium.
Organic Tofu is another excellent source. Try Tofu French Toast or Blueberry ‘Cheesecake’.
So… read up! It is EMPOWERING to get informed and be able to see through the advertising and marketing that we swim in daily, rather than drowning in it. Who knows, you may even start to see cows a little differently… and feel called to say ‘hello’ to them in their language 🙂