I would also inlcude Watercress, Parsley, Swede, Rocket, Tiger Nuts, Plant Milks, and Hard Water.
It is a longheld myth that humans need cow’s milk in order to build strong bones.
In fact, cow’s milk is made for the calves they produce which need to grow large bones and grow into large animals, they have the required digestive system to break it down and absorb the calcium content.
Calves grow to approximately eight times their birthweight by the time they are weaned and never drink milk again.
Humans make less and less of the enzyme needed to break down dairy milk as they get older – only young children have enough of the enzyme – which can lead to lactose intolerance and several health issues.
The type of calcium in dairy milk is barely absorbed by humans and is different from the type of calcium in plant foods.
Plant-based calcium is more bioavailable to humans.
- Many people, including babies and children, are allergic to dairy milk, they develop normally on non-dairy sources of calcium.
- Many populations around the world don’t drink dairy milk, yet display no overall deficiency in calcium.
- American women are among the biggest consumers of dairy milk, yet they have one of the highest percentages of osteoporosis.
- Chinese people don’t eat or drink dairy milk and consume half the amount of calcium of most Americans, yet there is hardly any osteoporosis.
- Dairy milk washes the calcium we already have from our bones and this can lead to osteoporosis.
- Dairy milk is allowed by law to contain a certain amount of chemicals, growth hormones, antibiotics and pus (yes, pus!)
- Most dairy herds are fed on GMO feed, so even if you avoid these in weekly shopping and home cooking, if you drink milk or eat meat, you are almost certainly consuming GMOs.
- Many large mammals have plantbased diets: Elephants, Rhinos, Zebras, Moose, most Gorillas, Hippos, Yak, Bison – no-one asks where they get their protein/calcium from (they wouldn’t dare!).
- Consuming large amounts of dairy milk can cause iron deficient anaemia in young children because they drink so much milk they have no room for other better sources of iron.
- One family member has a condition which requires him to have a very low-protein diet. He has never had dairy products or meat. He is a strapping, healthy, active young man who is an outdoor activities leader specialising in canoeing, climbing and snowboarding, and a keen cyclist.
- Exercise, especially the weight-bearing kind, is a good way to increase your bone density.
Who would think even fruits are good sources of calcium?
My youngest toddler grandson is very strongwilled when it comes to food and unless it is fruit or pasta, forget it! Yet he is tall and strong and has so much energy he literally has to be fed on the go as he whizzes past on his next mission to create chaos and mayhem! His parents are very sneaky, though: he loves his dad’s freshly-made fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies which are full of all sorts of plants, nuts and seeds that he would vociferously object to if put on his plate!
Surprisingly, too, many herbs are high in calcium.
Mind Body Green have a great infographic explaining why calcium is essential, how much you need at various ages and according to gender, plus a list of plant-based sources.
Many Americans are deficient in calcium, especially teenage girls and women over 50, but it is easy to include enough of this mineral with a little self-education and thought. Some foods may be unfamiliar, but these days are easily accessible via online stores and there are many sites and books showing you how to use them. Three years ago, I had never heard used chia seeds, goji berries, lucuma fruit powder, goldenberries and so on, but now they are staples along with nut butters and tahini (sesame paste).
You can find recipes for homemade Nut, Seed and Tiger Nut Recipes in the Menu – Tiger Nuts are actually tubers and so are suitable for those with a nut allergy. They make lovely naturally sweet and creamy milk, full of vitamins, minerals and probiotics. It is very popular in Spain where it is known as Horchata.
It is important to note that Spinach contains oxalate which prevents the absorption of its calcium content.
Salt and Caffeine also inhibit calcium uptake.
It is also important to note that calcium supplementation can be dangerous: it can cause an imbalance in essential minerals in the body, overwork the kidneys, cause kidney stones to develop, create cardiovascular problems from calcium deposits and lead to many other health issues.
Sources: The Vegan Society and Vegan Community on Instagram
as well as courses and articles, too many to mention, and my own experience.
Hope this helps!
Copyright: Chris McGowan